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.