Source: adapted from Woxenius, J. and J-P Rodrigue (2011) "Detours in Supply, Logistics and Freight Transport Chains".
- A supply chain focuses upon a product and extends back over the different actors, activities and resources required for making it available at the place of consumption. It encompasses a set of logistics and transport chains linking activities from basic extraction of raw materials to retailing (final consumption). It is rare that a whole supply chain will be managed by a single entity but it remains a functional entity.
- A logistics chain focuses upon an item part of an inventory and extends from when the item number is created (manufactured or received from a supplier) until it is dissolved (item consumed, becoming a part of another item or being split into several items). For instance, a logistics chain could include a product that has been assembled into a final good, brought to a distribution center to be sorted and temporarily stored and delivered to a retail store.
- A transport chain focuses upon a consignment and extends over movement, physical handling and activities directly related to transport such as dispatch, reception, transport planning and control. For long distance logistics chains, a transport chain can involve a sequence of modes and terminals. Containerization and intermodalism have helped improved the efficiency of transport chains and consequently of supply chains.