The GCC logistics industry is in its growth stage and is projected to expand in future

The GCC logistics industry is in its growth stage and is projected to expand in future

GCC warehousing market set to grow

E-commerce growth is closely related to the growth of the warehousing market, as it is forcing warehouses to upgrade, for greater reliability and higher efficiency, says a report

September 2019

The warehousing and distribution logistics market in the GCC is estimated to witness a strong growth   during the forecast period of 2019 to 2024, due to the increasing warehousing infrastructure and increasing government and private investments to develop the region into a robust logistics hub, along with pro-business regulatory policies, according to a report by Industry Research.

The UAE is one of the fastest-growing countries in the GCC region, owing to the rising importance of Dubai in world trade and strong economic outlook for the forecast period, the report titled: “GCC Warehousing and Distribution Logistics Market – Growth, Trends and Forecast (2019 – 2024)’, noted.

The warehousing and distribution logistics market in the GCC covers the different aspects, like warehousing technology, different segments of warehousing, like general, dangerous goods, and refrigerated warehousing, along with insights on free zones and industrial parks, and effects of e-commerce. The market is segmented by countries (Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar).

Warehousing: new opportunities

Warehousing: new opportunities

Bahrain offers some of the lowest setup and operating costs for a logistics business with cost savings of 30 per cent to 40 per cent, when compared to the rest of the GCC. This has encouraged several companies to invest in the country, in order to set up businesses and access the GCC, and the Arab world.

The rise of e-commerce is changing the way warehouses are designed and operated. This e-commerce rise is driven in the Middle East, with the development of a flourishing retail industry. At just over 1 per cent of the global e-commerce market, the GCC e-commerce market is expected to observe a four-time growth to reach an estimated $20 billion by 2020, stimulated by a surging consumer base, high disposable incomes, and changing buying habits.



Kuwait City has an abundance of storage space, where most commercial activities are centered and where the international airport and a big port are situated. Sulaibiya is an industrial area to the south-west of the city center, located conveniently next to the 6th Ring Road, providing easy access to the highways. There are other private storage spaces (300 sq m to 1000 sq m) in Kuwait City, and Al Salmia. Doha and Al-Jahra, located to the west of the city center, have a good location with easy access to the highways. Mina Abdullah is another industrial area, near Shuaiba Port, which is situated about 45 km to the south of Kuwait City, where private and public sector warehousing is rising. Many of them are related to the oil refineries or the Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC).

Kuwait is relying heavily on the well-functioning cold chain facilities to support the import of food. Additionally, there are cold chain facilities at both Kuwait International Airport and Shuwaik Port; at the airport, the facility is operated by NAS Cargo with multi-temperature warehouses, including frozen storage and cold rooms, and at Shuwaikh Port, chilled and frozen rooms are operated by Refrigeration Industries (RIC).

There are three commercial ports in Kuwait, which are an important part of its transport network. Shuwaikh, Shuaiba, and Doha ports are all managed by Kuwait Ports Authority (KPA), a public sector body run on a commercial basis under the Authority of the Ministry of Communications.

Shuwaikh Port is considered the main commercial port for Kuwait, situated inside Kuwait Bay and to the immediate northwest of Kuwait City. The port has commercial and container berths, and the milling company, Kuwait Flour Mills & Bakeries, is situated next to the port with specific berths only for it.

Shuaiba Port is Kuwait’s important commercial port, situated 45 km to the south of Kuwait City. The port has commercial and container berths, as well as an oil pier, which is operated by Kuwait National Petroleum Co. Doha Port is located to the North of Kuwait City. They are used to berth dhows, barges, and small coastal vessels operating between Gulf Ports.

The growing population of the country and increasing import and export volumes underscore the need for investment in warehousing services, in particular. Private sector logistics service providers control a considerable part of the supply of inland warehousing space in Kuwait. Government efforts to increase the supply of new warehousing facilities are expected to gradually expand capacity while leaving sizeable market space in warehousing and warehousing related value-added services for local and international investors.

The developing industrial area in Kuwait, along with the flourishing food storage market, has emerged as an opportunity for the warehousing market to grow in the country. Additionally, robust warehousing and storage infrastructure in Kuwait has led to improving the warehousing market.



The GCC e-commerce market is expanding with increasing competition, driven primarily by the UAE, and Saudi Arabia is expected to remain the largest and fastest-growing e-commerce market in the region, with consumer electronics and fashion being the strongest categories. The trend in 2019 will be increased sales numbers for e-commerce players in the GCC. The estimated e-commerce growth rate for the period from 2015 to 2020 is the highest for the UAE, with a 44 per cent increase.

The GCC region aids from high spending potential, as the region records a high per capita income. Additionally, internet penetration and social media penetration are also among the best in the world, meaning that the GCC is ready for strong growth in the e-commerce market. Amazon acquired Dubai-based Souq.com in 2017, which had over 50 million customers and operations in all GCC states, positioning itself as a major e-commerce player in the region.

Amazon’s entry in the region is also an indication of the market potential. Amazon, since its entry into the market, has been expanding its warehousing space across the region. E-commerce growth is closely related to the growth of the warehousing market, as it is forcing warehouses to upgrade, for greater reliability, higher efficiency, and a better fit for customers.

Some of the top manufacturers operating in the GCC warehousing and distribution logistics market are: Agility Logistics; GWC (Gulf Warehousing Company); DB Schenker Logistics; DHL Group; General Silos & Storage Co; GAC; Aramex; Integrated National Logistics; LSC Logistics and Warehousing Co and Kuehne + Nagel.



Saudi Arabia’s logistics and warehousing market is expected to register a positive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.3 per cent in terms of revenue and reach over $17.5 billion during the forecast period of 2018-2023, according to a recent report from Ken Research, a leading market research and data analytics company.

The report is titled “Saudi Arabia Logistics and Warehousing Market Outlook to 2023 (Second Edition) – Expected Recovery in Demand Growth with Rising Infrastructure Spending, Government Reforms and Surge in Trade”.

The report believes that the logistics industry is in its growth stage and is projected to expand in future through increasing government investment to improve the nation’s infrastructure and rising demand for express deliveries to meet the growing consumption requirement in the country.

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