Service quality gaps in the container shipping industry
Phua, Jia Hui.
Date of Issue2013
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Globalization has changed the way firms compete in the business world. Today, competitions are no longer limited to just between individual players; instead, it has expanded to include competition between supply chains as well. Being the main mode of transport used in most supply chain, service quality in container liner shipping can help increase competitiveness of the supply chain and in turn benefit all parties in the supply chain. To deliver service quality, container liner shipping company has to minimize the existing perception gap in service quality between themselves and the shippers through understanding of the shippers’ needs today. This study recognises the gap in the existing container liner industry. It aims to propose a Service Quality (SQ) model to address such a gap. The proposed SQ model would include dimensions and corresponding attributes that define a quality container liner service, from the perspective of the shipper. The research will also encompass the issue of implementing quality management systems and the effect of quality management practices on supply chain performance. The study employs a triangulation approach, utilising literature review, interviews and surveys to develop, refine and verify the SQ model proposed. A SQ model was developed after the literature review and interview process. The proposed SQ model consists of 6 dimensions with 25 attributes. The 6 dimensions are Tangibles, Outcomes, Process, Leadership, Image and Integration. Thereafter, a survey was conducted with shippers and container liner service providers to confirm the validity of the proposed SQ model. In the survey findings, the SQ dimensions: Outcome, Tangible and Process have been identified as top priorities for shippers with SQ attributes associated to reliability, competitive pricing and vessel slot availability being the top concerns of shippers. The survey results indicate the presence of a perception gap between container liner companies and shippers and between employees of different statuses. However, no significant differences were found between the small and big liner companies. Hence, the proposed SQ model can serve as a reference for container liner companies of different size to identify and act on existing performance gap for better utilization of resources in achieving service quality. As the study was confined to Singapore, this may raise concerns on generalisation which may not be specific to container liner companies and shippers in other parts of the world. Further studies should be conducted in other geographical regions to strengthen the reliability of the service quality attributes identified in this paper.
DRNTU::Engineering::Maritime studies::Maritime management and business
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University