Our report last month on the development of logistics within the ASEAN group of countries mentioned the conflict those states face between national and regional interests and the former Burma still lags behind some of its neighbours in terms of infrastructure. With the rapid acceptance of more democratic values as usual the very first on the scene to sense the possibility of future profits via early investment are those within the freight forwarding and shipping communities.
The international nature of the trade means that whether it be mainly Asian based groups such as Kerry Logistics, which opened an office in the country last August, or traditional European headquartered freight forwarders such as Kuehne + Nagel, which began a new operation this month, in every sense those who are the first to speculate on the development of increased transport activity are likely to profit most in the long term, provided political stability remains.
Myanmar certainly still suffers from some of the problems which states emerging from a repressive society find are inevitable. As well as the recent Buddhist clashes with Muslims there are ethnic divisions which run deep and in many ways mirror the problems which have beset other countries such as Sri Lanka. Set against this however, as K+N points out, is an emerging market with increasing international trades with Europe, the USA as well as the rest of Asia, whilst the country is rich in natural resources and is a key exporter of agricultural goods, textiles, wood products, construction materials, gems, metals, oil and natural gas.
A population of around sixty million also provides a rich target for imported goods which include dairy products, machinery and equipment and with a presence in the Asia Pacific region which now includes around 7,000 staff working in over 150 locations spread throughout 22 countries ,the Kuehne + Nagel Group decided an office strategically located in Rangoon and thus in the vicinity of the country’s major sea- and airports, was a suitable move prompting Andy Weber, President of K+N to comment:
“With our innovative service portfolio, we are perfectly positioned to offer our customers in this dynamic market tailor-made, IT-based integrated logistics services.”