Feb 28, 2021 / 19:26

Vietnam named in Agility’s top 10 Emerging Markets Logistics Index 2021

Vietnam’s rise of three ranking positions to 8th overall is the fastest rise in the top half of the Index and displaces regional partner Thailand in the top 10.

Vietnam moved up three places to 8th in the top 10 countries of the Emerging Markets Logistics Index 2021 by Agility, one of the world’s top freight forwarding and contract logistics providers.

 Cargos handling at Dinh Vu port, Hai Phong. Photo: Pham Hung 

Among countries in ASEAN, Vietnam stood at third behind Indonesia (3rd overall) and Malaysia (5th), and was above the likes of Thailand (11th), the Philippines (21st) and Cambodia (41st).

According to Agility, Vietnam’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has been one of the most successful globally, with data from Johns Hopkins University showing less than 1,500 reports of Covid-19 cases in the country in 2020.

The combination of social and economic restrictions with a strict and comprehensive testing and tracing system, saw lockdowns last less than three months, and by June many factories were reopened and domestic operations were recovering quickly, it said.

“The steps taken by Vietnam in 2020 propel it into the top 10 ranking in 2021 – its rise of three ranking positions to 8th overall is the fastest rise in the top half of the Index and displaces regional partner Thailand in the top 10,” stated the logistics firm.

“The country’s economy has performed well as a result of the minimal domestic disruptions and is set to be one of the best performing globally in 2020,” noted the report.

The foundation provided by the strong performance in 2020 is expected to underpin a 2021 expansion of 6.5% as domestic and international conditions normalize and the Covid-19 pandemic recedes.

In recent years, Vietnam has added significant hightech manufacturing capacity, helping attract investment from producers higher up the value chain as costs in China increased.

The option to avoid additional costs associated with the US-China trade war has added further motivation for manufacturers to choose Vietnam, noted Agility. 

Samsung, which alone contributes a quarter of Vietnam’s exports through smartphone manufacturing activity in the country, will shift PC manufacturing to Vietnam after it shut down a Chinese factory in 2020. Apple is also reported to have requested that Foxconn open a Vietnam production location to add production capacity for iPads and MacBooks.

When the production lines become active in the first half of 2021, it will be the first time iPad manufacture to take place outside China. Meanwhile, chip manufacturer Intel will operate its largest assembly plant in the country and South Korea’s LG electronics announced investment plans during 2020.

With Covid-19 further exposing the risks of over-reliance on China, Vietnam will be an attractive option for relocation – indeed, when asked, 19.2% of survey respondents cited Vietnam as the number one location for those seeking to diversify production locations outside of China.

However, so rapid has the investment and arrival of new businesses been that it is creating challenges of its own, including a shortage of skills and knowledge to produce the highest value goods.

Navigos Group, which owns the country’s largest jobs site, reports that 71% of employers cite a lack of IT skills as their most significant challenge.

By 2025, the country set the contribution rate target for logistics to be at 5-6% of GDP, services growth rate between 15-20%, while the rate for logistics outsourcing to be 50-60%, said the government’s decision No.200 referring to an action plan to enhance the competitiveness and development of Vietnam's logistics sector through 2025 and ensure its ran in the Logistics Performance Index of at least 50th.