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Exploring potential implications of Belt and Road Initiative for supply chain resilience: a comparative study of five South Asian countries

Atif Saleem Butt (Department of Management, School of Business, American University of Ras Al Khaimah, Ras al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates)
Syed Hamad Hassan Shah (Glorious Sun School of Business and Management, Donghua University, Shanghai, China)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Article publication date: 1 December 2020

Issue publication date: 23 April 2021

324

Abstract

Purpose

This paper explores the potential opportunities and challenges that Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) may bring for resilient supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

This study employs multiple case study methodology by considering five south Asian countries. Overall, 36 semi-structured interviews with supply chain managers from three supplying firms, two transportation centers and four buying firms are undertaken. Three supplying firms were based in Pakistan, providing cement and steel products. Simultaneously, two transportation centers were located in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, mainly engaged in cargo and freight handling. Finally, the buying firms were located in Mainland China and India, mainly constructing road and rail networks.

Findings

Our findings reveal both challenges and opportunities for supply chain resilience within the context of BRI. In particular, findings suggest that BRI can improve quality infrastructure, greater connectivity for logistics firms and enhance consumer markets. Conversely, BRI also poses challenges to supply chain resilience in managing large-scale logistics infrastructure and the potential conflicts between countries participating in BRI.

Research limitations/implications

As this study attempts to build a theory, its result should not be generalized to a broader population. Second, this study only explores BRI's implications for resilient supply chains within five South Asian countries.

Practical implications

Firms can use our study results to understand BRI’s implications for resilient supply chains. Particularly, it presents firms with the potential opportunities and challenges that BRI brings for resilient supply chains.

Originality/value

BRI has been the subject of much research in domains like political science, economics and law but its application to the supply chain resilience is rather scant. Our study, therefore, contributes to the emergent literature on supply chain resilience within the context of BRI by exploring its potential opportunities and challenges.

Keywords

Citation

Butt, A.S. and Shah, S.H.H. (2021), "Exploring potential implications of Belt and Road Initiative for supply chain resilience: a comparative study of five South Asian countries", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 1335-1355. https://doi.org/10.1108/BIJ-07-2020-0379

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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