Collaborative Research: Air Cargo Services and Competitive Advantage in Industrializing Economies

  • Leinbach, Thomas (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Air cargo is an increasingly vital, though little researched, link in the contemporary global economy. Yet the availability and quality of air cargo services vary among cities, regions, and countries. This project will examine how variation in air cargo services affects the competitiveness of exporting manufacturers and the local economies within which they operate. Through questionnaire surveys and in-depth interviews with air cargo carriers and exporting manufacturers, both the supply and demand dimensions of air cargo services will be assessed in the context of Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore. Utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods, models will be developed to show how the use of air cargo services changes as firms internationalize their operations, how foreign-owned and locally owned firms differ in their relationships with air cargo carriers, and how greater use of information technology has changed relationships in the air cargo industry. While there is a significant descriptive and growing theoretical literature on producer services, virtually none of this addresses air cargo. Heretofore air cargo has been treated simply as a means of transport for certain special goods. However, the accelerated emergence of a new international division of labor and concomitant reach by firms for competitive advantage have produced an evolution in the technological sophistication and organizational structure of the air transport industry. Airlines have developed broader product lines of different speed services, used communication advances to accelerate the flow of information among air cargo shippers and carriers, and formed international alliances to better serve multinational corporations. In essence, a much richer set of services has been developed. An exploration of these complex services, the carriers that provide them, and the exporters that use them in three dynamic Southeast Asian economies will demonstrate the role of air cargo as an influence upon the competitiveness of developing economies.
Effective start/end date9/1/008/31/04


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