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Transportation constraints for third-party logistics capacity in the grain industry: a case of Twilight Zone.

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Road and rail freight truck capacity constraints have adversely impacted Twilight Zone’s economic competitiveness and have contributed to a loss of production and revenue throughout the supply chain network. Therefore, the main purpose of this study is to evaluate and understand the logistical capabilities and capacity constraints of road and rail transport. The research objectives of the study are, firstly, to ascertain the strategic influence of third-party logistics partners in managing sustainable transport systems; secondly, to examine the extent of organisational collaboration to assess transport capacity risks in the grain industry; and lastly, to determine the influence of technological innovations on sustainable transport systems in the grain industry. A qualitative research method, using seven semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions to collect data, was used. A non-probability, purposive sampling method was used to select participants from the target population, from top-tier management to lower management. Sound recordings of the interviews were transcribed and analysed using thematic data analysis. This qualitative study will provide insights into the third-party logistical transport capacity shortages that Twilight Zone employs to support its upstream supply chain network operations. The main findings regarding overall transportation constraints in the grain bulk industry reveal the complexity in the supply chain logistics; the magnitude of organisational collaboration; extended lead times because of truck capacity shortfalls; and the propensity to invest in technological innovation for supply chain visibility. The study will provide a basis for senior managers to review current third-party logistical transport integration for information sharing, as well as key performance indicators of third-party logistics transport. The addition of value to current business processes to improve customer delivery throughout the supply chain network should ultimately increase the overall efficiency and profitability of Twilight Zone’s supply chain.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.