GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics

GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market Research Report: Forecast (2023-2028)

By Mode of Transport (Route) (Air, Road, Sea), By Product Type (General Drugs & Medicines, Surgical Goods & Medical Devices, Chemical Pharma Products, Bio-Pharma & Specialized Pharma Products), By Ser Read more

  • Healthcare
  • Jan 2023
  • 211
  • HC55016

Market Definition

The pharmaceutical industry utilizes logistics services for the overall administration of pharma products, viz., from where they are acquired, stored, & moved. It enables the constant supply of drugs, medicines, healthcare equipment & devices from manufacturers & distributors across different locations. Furthermore, pharmaceutical logistics differ from other logistics chains given the complexity, products, & costs involved.

With the mounting need for pharmaceutical products owing to growing cases of chronic diseases in gulf countries, many regional healthcare institutes have shown active interest in collaborating with pharma manufacturers to extend the drug delivery system across the region. In this regard, the need for a comprehensive & efficient supply chain network would become an opportunity for logistic firms and, in turn, would promote the expansion of the GCC pharmaceutical logistics industry in the coming years.

Market Insights

The GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market is likely to grow at a CAGR of around 7% during the forecast period, i.e., 2023-28. The growth of the market is likely to be driven primarily by the rising inclination towards biological drugs and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases across GCC countries.

Report Coverage Details
Study Period Historical Data: 2018-21
Base Year: 2022
Forecast Period: 2023-28
CAGR (2023-2028) 7%
Country Covered The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Rest of GCC
Key Companies Profiled Kuehne+Nagel Middle East, Aramex, Agility, Emirates SkyCargo, Qafila, RHS Logistics, Nawara Transportation & Freight Co., Kerry Logistics Middle East L.L.C., Yusen Logistics (Middle East) L.L.C., Mosanada Logistics Services, Oriental Commercial and Shipping Co. Ltd., Others
Unit Denominations USD Million/Billion


The GCC pharmaceutical sector is still in its early phases, with medication manufacturing in its infancy owing to numerous challenges, including the robust foothold of patent drug providers. Most medications used in the GCC region are of foreign origin, as 80% of the pharma products are imported from international companies.

Governments of GCC countries have been backing joint ventures & license agreements with international pharmaceutical enterprises to boost local medicine manufacturing. As a result, the need for pharma logistics has significantly increased across the gulf.

Nevertheless, the extensive local manufacturing by pharma companies like GlaxoSmithKline & Sanofi, a significantly rising demand for medication for chronic diseases, and the launch of logistics services for the pharma industry in the UAE & Saudi Arabia are other crucial aspects projected to drive the market through 2028.

Furthermore, the considerably growing medical tourism in the UAE & Saudi Arabia is another vital factor contributing significantly to the growing demand for pharma logistics in the GCC region. Due to this, the demand for pharmaceutical drugs & medicines is mounting rapidly to suffice the requirements of increasing tourist count.

Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market

The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 pushed various pharmaceutical companies to invest massively in the development of effective vaccines & drugs, with rising expenditure on the logistic sector by pharmaceutical industries to ensure the safety of pharmaceutical products. Moreover, the demand for drugs has been rapidly growing in the current health situation to cure the coronavirus disease.

The surging demand for surgical goods & medical devices like PPE kits, oximeters, face shields, N95 & N99 masks, etc., across the GCC region, owing to their critical use for doctors, nurses, & people, has enabled countries like the UAE, Bahrain, & Saudi Arabia to produce these products locally and supply them both to neighboring countries & internationally. These aspects have fueled the GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market amidst the pandemic. For instance:

In 2020, Bahrain set up its first 750 square meter factory to produce 2 million high-standard medical-grade facemasks (N95, 3 million surgical PLY3) to combat coronavirus. 

GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market Research Report: Forecast (2023-2028)

Market Segmentation

Based on Mode of Transport (Route):

  • Air
  • Road
  • Sea

Of these three, Roads attained the largest share in the GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market during 2023-28. It owes to the increased local production of pharmaceutical products in countries like the UAE & Saudi Arabia to attract local & international companies to meet the needs of the domestic market. Besides, in GCC countries, almost all places are easily accessible via road. As a result, the demand for pharmaceutical logistics by road across the neighboring countries like Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, & Bahrain has propelled significantly in recent years.

  • In 2018, Al-Mas International Pharmaceutical Industry signed a contract with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) to establish one of the largest BCG vaccine production plants. The plant produces BCG vaccines in the Middle East, localizing Saudi's pharma supply chain.

Based on Storage Type:

  • Refrigerated
    • Ultra-frozen (Less than 0°C)
    • Chilled (1°C - 10°C)
    • Air-conditioned (Above 11°C)
  • Ambient

Here, the demand for Refrigerated storage is projected to witness the highest growth in the market during 2023-28. It owes to the rising focus on bio-based products where there are many pre-conditions for the shipment of life science. Most pharmaceutical products, including vaccines, bio-products, and surgical goods, require refrigerated storage throughout handling & transportation to maintain product integrity. Hence, the need for refrigerated storage is likely to be significantly high in the forecast period.

Under Refrigerated storage, Ultra-frozen (Less than 0°C) acquired a notable market share. Certain drugs, medicines, vaccines like Covid-19 vaccines, & other life-saving bio-pharma products like stem cells require extremely cold temperatures, ranging from 0°C to even -80°C. This burgeoning need for such products has stimulated the demand for refrigerated storage transportation & deep-freeze storage facilities across the region.

On the other hand, Chilled (1°C - 10°C) storage is projected to hold a dominant market share during the forecast period. The GCC region experiences extremely hot weather compared to other neighboring nations. The temperature in summers can go up to 55°C, and storing & transporting pharma products from one location to another becomes extremely difficult. However, the emerging demand for the distribution of a wide range of medicines & vaccines that can help prevent, treat, or cure infectious diseases like HIV and anxiety-related conditions has infused the demand for Chilled (1°C - 10°C) storage across the region.

Country Landscape:

Geographically, the GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market expands across:

  • UAE
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Qatar
  • Oman
  • Bahrain
  • Kuwait

Amongst all countries across the GCC region, Saudi Arabia acquired the largest share of the Pharmaceutical Logistics Market in the previous few years. It attributes primarily to the rapid rise in the geriatric population of the country and burgeoning instances of chronic diseases like cancer, hypertension, diabetes, & cardiovascular, among others. For example:

  • In 2017, more than 70% of deaths in Saudi Arabia were caused by non-communicable diseases, states WHO. Moreover, nearly 25% of people are suffering from diabetes, hypertension, or other chronic conditions, and about 50% have two or more chronic diseases.

As a result, the surging cases of chronic diseases across the country have led to the burgeoning demand for medicines, which, in turn, has urged pharmaceutical manufacturers to enhance their production capacities, thereby contributing to the significant growth of the pharmaceutical logistics market in Saudi Arabia. 

On the other hand, to encourage domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing, the Saudi government has taken several initiatives like Saudi Vision 2030, National Transformation Program (NTP), etc. It has helped the country reduce the dependency on imported pharma products like medicinal drugs, vaccines, generic medicines, etc., thereby providing opportunities to enhance exports. For instance:

  • In 2019, the Saudi government allocated around USD 12.72 billion funds fr healthcare projects under Saudi Vision 2030. These funds helped the country promote local production of medicines, construct hospitals & laboratories, and thereby strengthen the pharmaceutical supply chain & logistics industry within the economy.

Furthermore, massive investments, partnerships, hospital constructions, well-established insurance systems, and other initiatives have promoted the localized manufacturing of oral solids, APIs, plasma products, medical devices, biosimilars, etc. These initiatives altogether have boosted Saudi Arabia's healthcare sector, which, in turn, has heightened the pharmaceutical logistics market in the country during the historical period.

Market Dynamics:

Key Driver: Mounting Cases of Chronic Diseases & Unhealthy Eating Habits

The rising prevalence of chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart issues, & kidney disorders across the GCC region is the prime aspect driving the GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market through 2028. Some major countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, etc., with a large population, have reported an upsurge in chronic disease patients. 

In addition, unhealthy eating habits and genetic disorders are primarily responsible for the growing diabetic population in the GCC. Lifestyle diseases have been rising across the region, due to which the demand for drugs has increased significantly. Due to these factors, the pharmaceutical logistics market in GCC is considerably growing as there is a notable demand for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.

The leading market players have grasped lucrative opportunities to place their logistics services by home delivery of medicines, collaborating with hospitals, taking contract logistics agreements, etc. For instance:

  • In April 2020, Bahrain health centers launched chronic disease medicine home delivery to ensure the health, safety, & comfort of patients.
  • In September 2019, Emirates, Pfizer, and the UAE Ministry of Health & Prevention announced the launch of a prevention campaign for chronic diseases to increase health literacy & public awareness for the global health threat of non-communicable diseases.

Growth Challenge: Container Shortage and Reverse Logistics

In the GCC region, the UAE is the epicenter for distributing pharma products across neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, etc. The panic buying of medicines, drugs, surgical equipment, and devices, among other pharma products, in 2020, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, led to a drastic shortage of containers & vessels. As a result, it affected the UAE's imports of pharma products from countries like the US, India, Japan, Germany, etc., and exports to neighboring countries.

With this shortage of containers, exporters witnessed a notable surge of nearly 50-60% in freight charges & container rent, which severely impacted business activities across the region. Hence, the shortage of containers & the issue of reverse logistics owing to the unprecedented return of containers has hindered the growth of the GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market.

India is one of the major exporters of pharma products like generic drugs, chemicals, petroleum products, etc., to the UAE. Hence, the shortage in container demand across India also disrupted the imports of the UAE's pharma products, which posed a challenge for logistic companies across the GCC. Even in 2021, this problem continued among various logistic players in the region.

Key Questions Answered in the Market Research Report:

  1. What are the overall statistics or estimates (Overview, Size- by Value, Forecast Numbers, Segmentation, and Shares) of the GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market?
  2. What are the country-wise industry size, growth drivers, and challenges?
  3. What are the key innovations, opportunities, current & future trends, and regulations in the GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market? 
  4. Who are the key competitors, their key strengths & weaknesses, and how do they perform in the GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market based on a competitive benchmarking matrix?
  5. What are the key results derived from surveys conducted during the GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market study?

Frequently Asked Questions

A. The GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of around 7% during 2023-28.

A. Roads are projected to generate remunerative growth opportunities for the leading players in the GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market through 2028.

A. The mounting cases of chronic diseases and unhealthy eating habits have led to the growing consumption of pharma products and the rapidly surging need for medical equipment & devices, which are the major growth opportunities projected to drive the GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market during 2023-28.

A. In the coming years, the GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market is projected to witness significant expansion on account of the surging demand for drugs to cure increasing chronic diseases in the region.

  1. Market Segmentation
  2. Introduction
    1. Product Definition
    2. Research Process
    3. Assumptions
  3. Executive Summary
  4. Impact of IoT on GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market
  5. GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market Trends & Insights
  6. GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market Dynamics
    1. Growth Drivers
    2. Challenges
  7. GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market Hotspot & Opportunities
  8. GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market Policies & Regulations
  9. GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market Analysis, 2018-2028F
    1. Market Size & Analysis
      1. By Revenues (USD Million)
    2. Market Share & Analysis
      1. By Mode of Transport (Route)
        1. Air
        2. Road
        3. Sea
      2. By Product Type
        1. General Drugs & Medicines
        2. Surgical Goods & Medical Devices
        3. Chemical Pharma Products
        4. Bio-Pharma & Specialized Pharma Products
      3. By Service Type
        1. Transportation & Freight Forwarding
        2. Warehousing
        3. Cross-Docking
        4. Value Added Services (Inventory management, Packaging, Labelling, etc.)
        5. Others (Customs Brokerage, Marketing, Call Support)
      4. By Storage Type
        1. Refrigerated
        2. Ultra-frozen (Less than 0°C)
        3. Chilled (1°C - 10°C)
        4. Air-conditioned (Above 11°C)
        5. Ambient
      5. By Logistics Provider Type
        1. 3PL (Third-Party)
        2. 4PL (Fourth-Party)
        3. Integrated Logistics
      6. By End Users
        1. Hospitals
        2. Laboratories
        3. Pharmaceutical companies
        4. Others
      7. By Country
        1. The UAE
        2. Saudi Arabia
        3. Qatar
        4. Oman
        5. Bahrain
        6. Kuwait
        7. Rest of GCC
      8. By Company
        1. Competition Characteristics
        2. Revenue Shares & Analysis
  10. The UAE Pharmaceutical Logistics Market Outlook, 2018-2028F
    1. Market Size & Analysis
      1. By Revenues (USD Million)
    2.  Market Share & Analysis
      1. By Mode of Transport (Route)
      2. By Product Type
      3. By End Users
  11. Saudi Arabia Pharmaceutical Logistics Market Outlook, 2018-2028F
    1. Market Size & Analysis
      1. By Revenues (USD Million)
    2. Market Share & Analysis
      1. By Mode of Transport (Route)
      2. By Product Type
      3. By End Users
  12. Qatar Pharmaceutical Logistics Market Outlook, 2018-2028F
    1. Market Size & Analysis
      1. By Revenues (USD Million)
    2. Market Share & Analysis
      1. By Mode of Transport (Route)
      2. By Product Type
      3. By End Users
  13. Oman Pharmaceutical Logistics Market Outlook, 2018-2028F
    1. Market Size & Analysis
      1. By Revenues (USD Million)
    2. Market Share & Analysis
      1. By Mode of Transport (Route)
      2. By Product Type
      3. By End Users
  14. Bahrain Pharmaceutical Logistics Market Outlook, 2018-2028F
    1. Market Size & Analysis
      1. By Revenues (USD Million)
    2. Market Share & Analysis
      1. By Mode of Transport (Route)
      2. By Product Type
      3. By End Users
  15. Kuwait Pharmaceutical Logistics Market Outlook, 2018-2028F
    1. Market Size & Analysis
      1. By Revenues (USD Million)
    2. Market Share & Analysis
      1. By Mode of Transport (Route)
      2. By Product Type
      3. By End Users
  16. GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market Key Strategic Imperatives for Success & Growth
  17. Competition Outlook
    1. Competition Matrix
      1. Product Portfolio
      2. Target Markets
      3. Target End Users
      4. Manufacturing Units
      5. Research & Development
      6. Strategic Alliances
      7. Strategic Initiatives
    2. Company Profiles (Business Description, Product Offering, Business Segments, Financials, Strategic Alliances or Partnerships, Future Plans)
      1. Kuehne+Nagel Middle East
      2. Aramex
      3. Agility
      4. Emirates SkyCargo
      5. Qafila
      6. RHS Logistics
      7. Nawara Transportation & Freight Co.
      8. Kerry Logistics Middle East L.L.C.
      9. Yusen Logistics (Middle East) L.L.C.
      10. Mosanada Logistics Services
      11. Oriental Commercial and Shipping Co. Ltd.
      12. Others
  18. Disclaimer
GCC Pharmaceutical Logistics Market Segmentation