Electronic Markets

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 157–173 | Cite as

The role of inter-organizational information systems in maritime transport chains

  • Ralf Elbert
  • Holger PontowEmail author
  • Alexander Benlian
Research Paper


Most global supply chains rely on maritime transport chains. Due to various organizations involved in these chains, an intensive coordination is needed. Therefore, timely, cost-efficient, and accurate information flows are of outstanding importance as they can be realized through inter-organizational information systems (IOS). Literature shows that there exists only limited knowledge regarding best practices concerning business processes and IOS in maritime transport chains. Given this lack of research, the aim of our study is to explicitly model key business processes in maritime transport chains and to analyze how information is exchanged. A business process analysis comprising two embedded single case studies uncovers information flows and detects critical junctures for IOS-based process innovations. Our main contribution is to provide deeper insights into business processes and corresponding information flows for the maritime transport chain which has been largely neglected in past literature. As such, we reveal how maritime transport chains work on a granular business process level and how information is exchanged between key stakeholders (i.e., transport and transshipment organizations). This allows both researchers and practitioners to detect important information nodes with corresponding IOS shares to develop future IOS solutions for maritime transport chains.


Inter-organizational information systems Maritime transport chains Business process management Business process modeling notation 

JEL classification

2.20.1 (Case Study) 3.260 (Interorganisational Systems) 3.510 (Supply Chain Management) 5.060 (Logistics) 


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Copyright information

© Institute of Information Management, University of St. Gallen 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chair of Management and LogisticsTechnische Universität DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany
  2. 2.Chair of Information Systems and Electronic ServicesTechnische Universität DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany

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