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The year 2007 survey: Provider CEO perspectives on the current status and future prospects of the third party logistics industry in the Asia‐Pacific region

Robert Lieb (College of Business Administration, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 11 July 2008

Abstract

Purpose

This study attempts to provide insight into the dynamics of the third party logistics (3PL) industry in the Asia‐Pacific (APAC) region.

Design/methodology/approach

The data reported in this paper were generated through a survey of the chief executive officer (CEOs) of ten of the largest 3PLs operating in the region.

Findings

Those companies anticipate substantial regional revenue growth, with nearly one‐quarter of that growth coming from acquisitions. Private equity (PE) investors have been active in the region, and the CEOs are divided as to whether that is a positive or negative development. Price compression, market entrance of foreign 3PLs, and increased pressure to internationalize services were identified as the most important regional market dynamics. Continued growth of intra‐Asian business and possible expansion of transportation services were cited as the most important regional opportunities. A continuing shortage of management talent, the region's regulatory structure, and inferior transportation services were cited as the most significant regional problems.

Practical implications

The region's growth prospects will promote further investments by 3PLs and PE companies. Regional transportation problems will continue to trouble 3PLs, and they must develop strategies to address shifting manufacturing patterns. The regional “talent shortage” will continue, and while 3PLs have taken steps to improve recruiting, training, and retention, there is little short‐term relief in sight. Regional buyers of 3PL services are becoming more sophisticated, and will likely place even more pressure on prices. Continued cost‐cutting measures and growing customer selectivity are the most likely reactions of 3PLs to that pressure.

Originality/value

The paper provides insight into the current status and future prospects of the third‐party logistics industry in the APAC region.

Keywords

Citation

Lieb, R. (2008), "The year 2007 survey: Provider CEO perspectives on the current status and future prospects of the third party logistics industry in the Asia‐Pacific region", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 38 No. 6, pp. 495-512. https://doi.org/10.1108/09600030810893535

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited