4PL Digital Business Models in Sea Freight Logistics: The Case of FreightHub

Read this case study of a 4PL model.


Contribution, Limitations, and Future Research Avenues
The present study contributes to theory and practice by refining business model research in the maritime transportation context, and providing managerial implications about the opportunities and threats of a digital transition in this industry. However, despite its valuable insights, this study has some limitations, which may be addressed by future research. While aiming to complete the picture of how digital business models may impact maritime freight transportation, it was not possible to extensively consider all parts of the SC while analyzing FreightHub's documentation. Another limitation found in qualitative research, is the limited number of cases, which prevents the findings from being generalized. This limitation is explained by small and idiosyncratic samples within case studies, where data is predominantly non-numerical, thus leaving little chances to establish the probability that the data is representative of some larger population, or for the other branches. This limitation implies the generalizability of the research findings being limited, which was also highlighted by Chiarini, who used a case study within a SME with lean production at an early stage of application. Therefore, future studies in other business models or organizational situations must test these results using survey research. Additional investigations of the links between the developed conceptualization and classical management theory will also more fully define the connections between the connections between the constructs evaluated in this paper. Future research might also tackle the link between business models and scenario analysis to further inform transformation pathways in this context.