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Economic and social upgrading in global logistics

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  • Neil M. Coe
  • Martin Hess
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    Abstract

    Abstract Contemporary economic globalization as a highly dynamic process has seen substantial changes in its organization, governance, geographies and impacts. These global shifts can be characterized by – among other aspects – increased functional and geographical fragmentation of production processes, various waves of outsourcing and off-shoring, changing geographies of production and consumption and associated labour market dynamics. At the same time, nation states and regional economic blocs aim at increasing macro-regional and global integration through bilateral and multilateral trade and investment negotiations, predicated on transformations in transportation and logistics technologies that enable the functioning of complex global production networks (GPNs) and link regional, national and supra-national economies. This paper aims to assess the consequences of what has been termed a ‘logistics revolution’ for economic and social upgrading in global logistics and client sectors. It starts by charting the existing research base and exploring the structure and dynamics of the global logistics industry, before addressing the potential of and obstacles to economic and social upgrading. The analysis highlights the often-neglected importance of logistics as a global industry: a major employer and value generator in its own right, with its own evolving GPNs. It demonstrates the increasingly diverse structure of logistics operations and labour markets, creating opportunities for upgrading through innovation and new technologies, but at the same time it shows the continued prevalence of ‘low-road’ logistics labour markets and workers often struggling to secure labour rights, decent wages and improved working conditions. These issues are illustrated and discussed for both the global logistics industry itself and the logistics activities in client sectors such as horticulture, apparel and mobile communications. The paper concludes with reflections on the contingent and variegated outcomes of logistics development and avenues for future research.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by BWPI, The University of Manchester in its series Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series with number ctg-2013-38.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:ctg-2013-38

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    1. Markus Hesse & Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2006. "Global Production Networks and the Role of Logistics and Transportation," Growth and Change, Gatton College of Business and Economics, University of Kentucky, vol. 37(4), pages 499-509.
    2. William Milberg & Deborah Winkler, 2012. "Economic and Social Upgrading in Global Production Networks: Problems of Theory and Measurement," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series ctg-2010-04, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    3. Khalid Bichou & Richard Gray, 2004. "A logistics and supply chain management approach to port performance measurement," Maritime Policy & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(1), pages 47-67, January.
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    5. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2006. "Transportation and the Geographical and Functional Integration of Global Production Networks," Growth and Change, Gatton College of Business and Economics, University of Kentucky, vol. 37(4), pages 510-525.
    6. Peter Hall & Markus Hesse & Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2006. "Reexploring the interface between economic and transport geography," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 38(8), pages 1401-1408, August.
    7. Theo Notteboom & Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2008. "Containerisation, Box Logistics and Global Supply Chains: The Integration of Ports and Liner Shipping Networks," Maritime Economics and Logistics, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 10(1-2), pages 152-174, March.
    8. Mintsis, G. & Basbas, S. & Papaioannou, P. & Taxiltaris, C. & Tziavos, I. N., 2004. "Applications of GPS technology in the land transportation system," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 152(2), pages 399-409, January.
    9. Vagneron, Isabelle & Faure, Guy & Loeillet, Denis, 2009. "Is there a pilot in the chain? Identifying the key drivers of change in the fresh pineapple sector," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 437-446, October.
    10. Sheffi, Yoss, 2012. "Logistics Clusters: Delivering Value and Driving Growth," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262018454, January.
    11. Gereffi, Gary, 1999. "International trade and industrial upgrading in the apparel commodity chain," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 37-70, June.
    12. John Bowen & Thomas Leinbach, 2004. "Market Concentration In The Air Freight Forwarding Industry," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 95(2), pages 174-188, 04.
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