Logistics Middle East - - EDITOR’S COLUMN - SHAUN EBELTHITE ED­I­TOR [email protected]

It’s a New Year and the be­gin­ning of an­other 12 months of in­no­va­tion for the lo­gis­tics in­dus­try as it comes to grips with emer­gent tech­nolo­gies and sys­tems from blockchain and IoT to crowd­sourc­ing and the gig econ­omy. Blockchain was the buzz­word of 2018, IoT the buzz­word the year be­fore that. As we con­front the New Year, the words of T.S Eliot come to mind. “Last year’s words be­long to last year’s lan­guage. And next year’s words await an­other voice,” he fa­mously wrote. What will this year’s buzzwords be, and how will they shape the ways in which the in­dus­try tack­les the on­go­ing chal­lenge of vol­ume den­sity ver­sus pick­ing ef­fi­ciency, last mile de­liv­ery ver­sus free ship­ping, and a myr­iad of other is­sues? It will be the job of this mag­a­zine to give a voice to the sec­tor and those work­ing within it as this work con­tin­ues.

It isn’t just the buzzwords that are im­por­tant as we look ahead in 2019. It’s also the macro-eco­nomic shifts tak­ing place in the re­gion, both good and bad. Our cover story looks at the ways in which Dubai Cus­toms are match­ing the pro­gres­sion in Saudi Ara­bia’s re­de­vel­op­ment of its cross-border trade in­fra­struc­ture, an is­sue we look at more closely in our Saudi Fo­cus on page 34. The strides be­ing made both sides of the border can only be good for the re­gion as it grows in its po­ten­tial as a ma­jor global trade hub. But th­ese laud­able achieve­ments are threat­ened by the in­ten­si­fy­ing trade war be­tween the US and China, bring­ing home the re­al­ity that lo­gis­tics is very much a global in­dus­try. It re­lies on trade, and by its na­ture is im­pacted eas­ily by ex­ter­nal forces.

As the year pro­gresses we’ll con­tinue to do our best to keep you abreast of the lat­est de­vel­op­ments and what they mean for the in­dus­try.

As al­ways, en­joy the is­sue.

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