Although the market for chemical logistics is likely to be depressed in 2012, there is no doubting that medium – long term prospects are exceptionally strong, although opportunities vary dramatically from region to region. This is one of the key findings of Ti's latest report, Global Chemical Logistics 2012, written by Senior Analyst and long time industry watcher, Thomas Cullen.
In terms of regions, growth in the Asia Pacific market has outpaced the rest of the world. China, which until very recently had only a tiny chemical industry, has seen production increase ten-fold over the past decade. In addition to this it has now become a major consumption market in its own right.
The report found that the Asia Pacific market grew at around 20% in 2011, compared with an anaemic 4% in North America and just 2% in Europe.
Ti estimates that from 2011 to 2015, growth in the chemical logistics market will be driven by emerging markets, including the Middle East. Asia Pacific will experience the highest levels of growth, expanding by an average of 9.0% per year between 2011 and 2015. Europe and North America's market share will be gradually lost to Asia, as growth in these regions will remain just below 3%.
According to Cullen the logistics market for chemicals has seen considerable change. 'Like the rest of the world's economy, the chemical industry has experienced intense volatility over the past few years,' he commented. 'However, this has been accompanied by substantial secular change, which has in turn had an enormous effect on the logistics structures supporting the sector.'
Although logistics related to the chemical industry is largely niche, with many of the market leaders achieving high margins, Cullen believes there is no room for complacency. 'Many logistics companies are in danger of failing to adapt to the increasingly globalised nature of the industry and are struggling to gain access to the fastest growing and most profitable areas of inter-continental trade,' he warns.
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