Collaborating On Green Logistics In Chemical Supply Chains: Insights From Poland
Sustainable, safe, secure and efficient logistics is of great importance for chemical supply chains to operate successfully. However, as most logistics operations in this sector are outsourced to logistics service providers (LSPs), chemical companies have to rely on LSPs and collaborate with them when working on logistics eco-efficiency. This paper takes an LSP’s perspective. It aims to investigate the vertical as well as horizontal collaboration needed in making chemical logistics greener and safer, by shifting chemical road freight to intermodal transport, combining modes, better transport planning, and energy and emission management. The research problem is analysed on the basis of a literature review and structured, in-depth interviews conducted with nine LSPs and twelve chemical companies operating in Poland. The research is part of the “Promotion of Multimodal Transport in Chemical Logistics” project within INTERREG Central Europe Programme. The main findings from the research show that environmental regulations and targets in the EU Transport Whitepapers have resulted in LSPs’ interest to work towards establishing more ecological strategies and operations, as well as new, greener services in response to the needs of chemical companies. There are many examples of vertical cooperation, even with elements of collaboration, among LSPs and their suppliers, and chemical customers in green logistics. However, this is not the case for horizontal cooperation among LSPs operating in Poland. They consider it to be very challenging and risky, and are reluctant to share their data with other LSPs. Nevertheless, environmental regulations, technological development and efficiency goals will soon force LSPs to consider working together with other LSPs, even competitors. The research reported in this paper is limited in its scope. Even so, it does provide a platform from which more detailed research may be conducted. The managerial implications arising from the research suggest current practices in green logistics in general and green logistics in chemical industry in particular.
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