Environmental Vicious Circle of Logistics
Added value, efficiency and control are the main drivers of supply
chain management. The search for added value enables to capture economic
opportunities along the supply chain with activities related to consolidation,
deconsolidation, transshipment and transloading. Efficiency drives the
improvement of cost and performance attributes of the supply chain through
better modal and intermodal options. Control insures reliability in
terms of performance and costs along the supply chain undertaken through
mergers and information technologies.
The application of logistics involves a paradigm
on freight distribution systems that results in two specific
The above paradigm relies on an externalization of costs where the
full costs of the distribution system are not entirely assumed by the
users. It also leads to a concentration, both spatial and functional,
of logistical activities and their level of control.
- The first externality relates to spatial constraints.
The more physical distribution is efficient, the less production,
distribution and retailing activities are constrained by distance.
This results in changes in the configuration of distribution networks
and a higher level of space consumption by logistical activities.
- The second externality relates to the usage level of
transportation. A less spatially constrained supply chain
involves more ton-km of freight transported, both in terms of the
number of trips and the average haul length. This is associated
with higher level of energy consumption and correspondingly with