Maritime supply chain innovation: costs, benefits and cost-effectiveness of ICT introduction

Date: 20 November 2019

Venue: University of Antwerp, Graduation Hall, Grauwzusters Cloister - Stadscampus, Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerp (route: UAntwerpen, Stadscampus)

Time: 4:00 PM

PhD candidate: Valentin Cârlan

Principal investigator: Prof Dr Christa Sys, Prof Dr Thierry Vanelslander

Short description: PhD defence Valentin Cârlan - Faculty of Business and Economics


ICT innovation has become a key prerequisite for maritime supply chain (MarSC) stakeholders to remain competitive. In this context, new technological advancements from early EDI-based (electronic data interchange) solutions to contemporary blockchain-based tools are continuously changing the market.

The MarSC actors need to decide which ICT solution to implement. In this process, own financial benefits are key. Equally so, the broader effects on other stakeholders participating in the chain are relevant. However, there is no comprehensive framework available to identify the costs and benefits of ICT innovation in the MarSC reported in the literature, nor applications that calculate their cost-effectiveness.

This research identifies the cost-effectiveness of integration practices introduced by ICT innovation in the MarSC. To do so, it develops, validates and applies a comprehensive costs and benefits framework taking into consideration key characteristics of ICT innovation. A collection of 44 cases provides further empirical evidence with regard to the cost and benefit elements they generate. Subsequently, four detailed cost-effectiveness analyses are carried out focusing on integration.

The first analysis shows how an internal data integration practice is cost-effective for a road transport company and reduces external environmental effects at the same time.

The second one studies horizontal data-integration practices in the MarSC. Focusing on data integration amongst hinterland transport operators, the analysis proves that taking a multi-disciplinary approach in building ICT innovation provides a more cost-effective outcome.

The third case study focuses on vertical data integration in the MarSC. It discusses the cost-effectiveness of three strategies to implement a blockchain-based application in the MarSC that facilitates the official documents transfer. This last analysis provides evidence with regard to the increase in a community’s competitive advantage, when a mixed data integration tool is used. This tool is developed in the framework of a port community system.

Overall, this dissertation provides new relevant insights with regard to costs and benefits generated by ICT innovation in the MarSC, and is valuable for both academia and industry.