Mar. Res. 2021/12
Vol.1. Iss.1 :37-59
The Impact of Container Shipping Consolidation on Service Quality, Brand Awareness, Customer Satisfaction, and Customer Loyalty: An Exploratory Study

Vinh V. Thai 1*, Devinder Grewal 2 and Solomon Chen3
1School of Accounting, Information Systems & Supply Chain, RMIT University, Australia
2Australian Institute of Shipping and Transport Logistics, Canberra, Australia
3Centre for International Maritime Convention Studies, National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan

Abstract: Purpose: This study aims to examine how various aspects of operational and service consolidation, in terms of mergers, acquisition and strategic alliance in container shipping lines, affect their service quality, brand awareness, and, eventually, customer satisfaction, and customer loyalty, upon which operational and management improvements are proposed accordingly.
Design/methodology/approach: This study employs method triangulation, combining qualitative and quantitative methods as its research strategy. In the first phase, based on the proposed conceptual model developed from the literature review, seven face-to-face in-depth interviews were conducted with five logistics service providers and two trade associations representing shippers as well as customs brokers and forwarders in Australia. In the second phase, a survey, which was designed based on findings from the interviews, was accordingly administered to customers of container shipping lines.
Findings: It was revealed that operational and service consolidation in container shipping negatively affects the service quality perceived by customers, particularly the outcomes (time, reliability, service customisation, etc.) and process (professional knowledge and behaviour, customer service, etc.) aspects. This in turn creates a mixed impact on brand awareness, customer satisfaction, and customer loyalty.
Research limitations/implications: This study is constrained by the low survey response rate at the time that this paper was written. Further replication in the future in other countries will help enhance the reliability and validity of its findings.
Originality/value: As there are at present not many studies on the effects of container shipping consolidation on service quality, brand awareness, customer satisfaction, and customer loyalty, further exploration needs to be conducted to enhance knowledge in this industry. This study is thus original, as it is the first study conducted in Australia which is a shipping country that relies heavily on foreign shipping lines for its foreign trade. Findings from this research can contribute to shaping more effective decisions relating to container shipping service quality and customer performance.

Keywords:  container shipping, strategic alliance, shipping consolidation, service quality, customer satisfaction, Australia.

*Corresponding author; e-mail: vinh.thai@rmit.edu.au
© 2021  Marine Research , ISSN 2709-6629 

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