Freight Forwarder’s Personal Network in Multimodal Transport Chains: An Empirical Investigation
So far in this piece of work, the topic of freight forwarding in multimodal transport chains with a leg by sea or air was described and theoretically reflected from different perspectives. After reviewing the forwarding business from a legal and functional point of view, contemporary multimodal chains with a leg by sea or air were described based on desk research in Part 2 as a status quo for further theoretical treatments. In Chapter 3 freight forwarder’s intermediary role as a strange hybrid providing all kinds of transport and logistics services as well as financial intermediation on behalf and account of his clients was clarified well grounded in NIE, MMT and ITF. Seeing that such multimodal transport chains cannot be considered as a conglomerate of isolated bilateral or trilateral relationships, a network perspective of freight forwarding in multimodal transport chains with a leg by sea or air was developed in Chapter 4. There, the social network approach with SNA as a measurement concept showed the highest usability in the context of this work and therefore, relevant measurement concepts of e.g. network size and density, centrality or brokerage capacity and their connection to the notion of social capital were worked out in Chapter 5. Now it is time to show, whether actual business practice supports the assertions made and conclusions drawn before. This is done by analyzing empirical social network structure data from freight forwarders engaged in multimodal transport chains including a leg by sea or air in Germany and Austria.