With the beginning of the 21st century, global transportation times, risks and costs decreased dramatically, communication and information technology enabled people to overcome geographical distances and to reduce information asymmetry between global regions. In addition, trade barriers and market protectionism were systematically reduced through trade agreements like the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and organizations like the World Trade Organization (WTO).

This work investigates the problem to jointly plan volumes and values in a global value chain network for commodity products in the chemical industry. The chemical industry is a process industry sector offering products produced in repetitive production processes carrying out specific physical and chemical reactions (Günther/van Beek 2003a, p. 2). The chemical industry is one of the key global industries with chemical product sales of € 1,776 billion globally in 2004 (CEFIC 2005, p. 3). Globalization with regional growth differences and commoditization with price pressure are important trends within the chemical industry (CEFIC 2005, p. 17 and pp. 28-30; Rammer et al. 2005, pp. 37-48). The management of global material flows poses new challenges on the chemical industry companies since considerable value can be gained from optimizing of the complex global networks (Günther/van Beek 2003a, p. 5).


World Trade Organization Chain Management Chain Network Management Concept Commodity Product 


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© Physica-Verlag Heidelberg 2008

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