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Exploring strategic characteristics of intermodal grain terminals: Empirical evidence from Brazil

Alexandre Borges Santos, Renato Luiz Sproesser and Mário Otávio Batalha

Journal of Transport Geography, 2018, vol. 66, issue C, 259-267

Abstract: Firms in the transportation industry are continuously evolving in order to build competitive advantages. Understanding who the competitors are and how they behave is a basic prerequisite for firms to adopt the right strategic positioning. Strategy and performance, therefore, are considered to be inseparable. In this manuscript, we exploit these two central areas in the field of business management from the perspective of grain terminal operators. A framework of analysis based on robust operations and strategic management literature is built to identify the strategic pattern of 24 intermodal grain terminals spread throughout the five Brazilian regions. The operational efficiency of the terminals is assessed through Data Envelopment Analysis. Subsequently, strategic groups are identified with the support of Cluster Analysis. Results suggest the existence of two major strategic groups: diversified small-scale terminals and focused large-scale terminals. The study is concluded by arguing that diversified small-scale terminals tend to offer a wider range of secondary services as an alternative to counterbalance their small transshipment scale, therefore, are likely to adopt a differentiation strategy; large-scale terminals, on the other hand, tend to focus mainly on the transshipment process, thus, are likely to adopt a cost leadership strategy. Theoretical and managerial implications resultant from the findings are presented and discussed.

Keywords: Agribusiness; Intermodal terminal; Multimodality; Strategic group; Strategy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jotrge:v:66:y:2018:i:c:p:259-267

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