Southeast Asia’s New Era in Contract Logistics: Balancing Growth and Sustainability

Posted on May 20 , 2024. 
By Ben McDonald
Portrait of a warehouse worker speaking on a walkie talkie with a coworker in an empty container warehouse while driving a scooter to inspect work

Share this article

Southeast Asia is on the brink of a transformative era in contract logistics, underpinned by the region’s robust economic growth and a significant expansion in logistics infrastructure. This evolution is shaping a competitive landscape for supply chain specialists, driving innovation, and emphasising sustainable practices.


Navigating the Waves of Logistics Consolidation

The logistics sector in Southeast Asia is experiencing consolidation among shipping giants, aiming for more efficient transport operations. However, this consolidation has led to concerns about reduced competition potentially inflating carrier rates. Despite these challenges, the integration resulting from consolidation offers benefits, such as comprehensive one-stop service solutions that cover the entire product journey, from shipping to warehousing and administration.


Infrastructure Expansion and Sustainable Practices

Notably, DHL is enhancing its capabilities in the region by adding substantial warehouse space and introducing AI-enhanced logistics centres. These advancements include automated storage systems and goods-to-person robotics, enhancing operational efficiency while committing to carbon neutrality. Similarly, Maersk’s substantial investment is expanding warehouse capacity and upgrading infrastructure to support eco-friendly fuel usage, demonstrating the industry’s shift towards sustainable logistics solutions.


The Global Context: Evolving Trade Lanes and Project Logistics

The global trade environment is compelling companies to diversify their supply chains and explore new trade lanes, a trend reinforced by regional disruptions and infrastructure developments in strategic locations like Kazakhstan and India. These emerging trade lanes offer alternatives to traditional routes, reflecting a dynamic global trade landscape.

In parallel, the APAC region’s shift towards renewable energy and economic modernisation is fueling demand for project logistics. This includes support for a range of energy infrastructure projects, from traditional oil and gas to emerging renewable sources like wind and solar. Despite a predicted decline in oil demand, the region continues to invest in energy infrastructure, necessitating sophisticated logistics support.


Future Outlook: Balancing Economic Growth with Environmental Stewardship

Southeast Asia is positioning itself at the forefront of economic and environmental transformation, and the logistics sector is playing a crucial role in supporting this transition. The move towards sustainable energy and the need for modern infrastructure underscore the region’s commitment to a balanced approach, intertwining economic advancement with ecological responsibility.

This new era in contract logistics not only highlights the region’s growth potential but also underscores the importance of sustainability and innovation in shaping the future of global trade and logistics. 

As Southeast Asia embarks on a journey of economic modernisation, coinciding with the global shift towards a more sustainable, circular economy, the region is poised to become a pioneer in adopting large-scale clean energy infrastructure. The effectiveness of this transition hinges critically on companies in the region being able to attract and develop the skilled workforce necessary to manage and implement these transformative changes efficiently and effectively.



This article is part of an ongoing series exploring hiring trends in the APAC logistics sector. Next, we’ll explore the most in-demand skills as well as what employees expect from employers. Can’t wait? Download the entire series as a report here.


About the Author: 

Ben McDonald is a Co-Founder and Partner at Connexus Global. With a 20-year track record in recruitment, particularly in Supply Chain & Logistics, Ben partners with clients to secure top talent, driving their success in the Asia-Pacific region. 


About Connexus Global: 

Connexus Global is a specialised recruitment firm operating in Singapore, Bangkok, London, and Austin, focusing on the industrial, consumer markets, commodity trading, and renewable energy sectors.

Ben McDonald


Consumer & Industrial Markets


Related News