Mehmann, J.; Teuteberg, F. (2016): The Fourth-Party Logistics Service Provider Approach to support Sustainable Development Goals in Transportation – A Case Study of the German Agricultural Bulk Logistics Sector; in: Journal of Cleaner Production; Vol. 126, pp. 382-393.
The approach to integrate a fourth-party logistics service provider in the German Agricultural Bulk Logistics sector marks a new concept that aims at achieving sustainable development goals in transportation, i. e., by realising full truck loads. Against the background of steadily growing transport volumes, it is of paramount importance to develop sustainability concepts in order to mitigate the impacts on the environment. At present, the processes in the domain of the German Agricultural Bulk Logistics sector are characterised by bulk transports, small and medium sized actors and paper-based processes, which offers high potential for process optimizations in terms of sustainability. Therefore, the German Agricultural Bulk Logistics sector currently explores the approach of including a fourth-party logistics service provider into its transport processes in order to render these more sustainable and reduce costs. The objective of this paper is to present the general idea of implementing a fourth-party logistics service provider into a transportation (planning) process, to clarify the different functions of the participating parties and to introduce the modified transportation planning process as artefact. By means of a mixed method approach, we deliver qualitative insights based on semi-structured interviews and quantitative insights based on simulations. Effects and benefits of the approach are identified by means of a case study. Involving the fourth-party logistics service provider as well as the associated transportation planning process in the mentioned logistics area can lead to cost savings up to 38%, helps to reduce environmental pollution and mitigates social barriers in form of existential fears. The results demonstrate the applicability of the fourth-party logistics service provider approach in the sector and underline that this approach supports the achievement of sustainable development goals in transportation. Furthermore, we identify sustainable characteristics and present the mixed method approach which functions as an assessment framework for the fourth-party logistics service provider approach. Furthermore, by adopting the documented features of sustainable supply chain management in the fourth-party logistics service provider approach, an additional value is generated.