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SCM is being accepted as the key opportunity provider to offer business competitiveness, as well as it offers, better customer services and cost-effectiveness. Applying logistics models and achieving optimasation in services as per the precise business requirement is an essential condition of good SCM. Twenty first century is the era of globalization, expedited by the developments made in the fields of telecommunication and associated technologies. Fastest means of telecommunication made today's world a truly global-village . Competitiveness and value proposition in SCM practices of any enterprise can only be achieved through business intelligence (BI) . Overwhelming pressure of globalization and enhanced utilization of BI has enabled even self-employed entrepreneur to remain competitive: The global revolution in manufacturing industry demands that product-process-business should have thorough integration and should have vertical structure  . This phenomenon of globalization also improved means of transportation and logistics . Early recognition of latest innovations, awareness about use of cutting edge technologies, best location of merchandise's availability; its cheapest price and minimum transit time required for delivery are few factors which logistics manager has learn in global-competitive environment . Every customer desires that latest innovative merchandise should reach to him as early as possible, but in cheapest price. This phenomenon of globalization compelled transportation and logistics business to improve their standards to earn hyper-efficiency as well as earn optimum financial gains [27,29,30]. Recent advancements in transportation and logistics sector, assisted integration of SCM at global scale; which made it possible that electronic gadgets of a US branded company with Chinese made major components - assembled in Singapore (or Malaysia), distributed through Dubai logistics transit hub can be sold in Africa or Europe. The shipping container, initially designed for maritime transportation only, is now being used extensively in the inland freight distribution systems due to the pressures put on by global logistics .
The question arises why the previous century's old mechanism has changed in which all merchandises were manufactured, assembled, packed, stored and distributed from one location? The answer is quite simple, because globalization has put immense pressure on competing rivalries brand, where these organizations has to compete not only in cost but also in agile and more customized supply chains. Customization is great hindrance in mass production and thus new trends of postponement have emerged. Hence, making globally integrated supply chain management the need of the hour; this can offer cheaper, agile, green and customized logistics. [30,31,32,33,37] Green SCM not only offers great opportunities but pose numerous challenges as well; such as optimization in distances, lead time, fuel consumption, low GHG emission and cost. These challenges faced by global logistics and SCM are tried to address in this case study.
Today's economic, social and regulatory dynamics are putting real pressures on companies to be both lean and green in their product sourcing, logistics, distribution and operational practices. [5, 6] The green movement has been transformed from a cause to save our environment into a fully-fledged, vetted economy. Environmental responsibility has moved from a trend to a business imperative, it helps companies to achieve their business goals. Over the past few years sustainability has steadily been moving from the periphery to the heart of business. Companies are adopting sustainability practices for a host of reasons depending on the industries and geographies in which they operate. Traditional supply chain strategies balance cost efficiency and service level (on-shelf availability). Consumers, rising energy and other commodity costs and legislation have pushed companies to re-design their supply chain networks; in order to mitigate negative environmental impacts. Sustainability is a third lever that addresses cost, service levels and environmental and social impact. New factors are becoming increasingly critical, such as availability of natural resources, traffic congestion in urban areas, energy consumption, CO2 emissions and the permanent rise of transport costs. [41, 43,] Companies must develop new relationships with their suppliers to influence them effectively. Suppliers can gain first-mover advantage in some cases by making the shift to more sustainable production and influencing their customers. [42, 47]
The technology, fastest means of communication and transportation made this world truly global village. Globalization facilitated the huge global trade of goods from one country to another. Moreover this globalization phenomenon puts huge pressure on logistics manager to be more innovative due to intense competitive environment. Now every company has become a multinational company (MNC) even operating in national scale. Globalization has proven previously stated argument wrong that "how is it possible, when one company which don't export goods to other countries and operate only at national level can be called as MNC'. The answer to that argument is that, even one company is only operating at national level but now as other MNCs are competing in same country, so this rivalry and completion has made every national company a MNC. Many MNC are geographically dispersed, sometimes at global scales, logistics involves planning and managing supplies as well as transportation networks demands integration of supply chains on horizontal as well as vertical scale.
Integration and merry up of Hardware's, Data, GIS, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), GSM other tracking and mobile telecommunication technologies. Moreover use of internet, intranet, inventory management, forecasting and database software is a complex issue for any Logistics manager; but on other hand the only solution possible in competitive global trade perspective. The routing of vehicles and the management of logistics operation in any company; which provides services to fairly large geographical area can easily become a very complex task. The task can be simplified by the applying GIS, which automatically reduce the complexity by bringing out subtle geographic patterns and relationships that can form the basis of good decisions. Systems like Global Positioning System (GPS) and GIS technology can take pain out of applications like vehicle tracking and dispatch, route analysis, warehouse operations, facilities and depot management, routing and scheduling. The system's potential would suggest that reasonably accurate decisions can be arrived at with less or even incomplete data sets. GIS can help us streamline logistics related business processes like inventory management, fleet/truck management and warehousing applications. The task can be simplified by the application of GIS, RFID, GSM, other tracking and mobile telecommunication Technologies. Formulation of strategy for a devolving country like Pakistan and gaining competitive advantage in the region is only possible through exploitation of technology in the fields of logistics and transportation. [27, 28] Location of Pakistan is value proposition which should be exploited to gain competitive advantage in the region. Pakistan offer shortest possible route for the logistics of Afghanistan, Central Asian Republicans (CARs) western Chines Market.
The applications of geographically integrated Supply Chain Management (GISCM) Strategy can create value proposition for any country or any MNC in the region. Strategy like GISCM can take pain out of planning of shortest possible route or selection of economical medium of transportation of goods from one country to other. GIS & GSM embedded technologies help in making decision whether to replenish supplies from the closest possible manufacturing unit or from closest possible warehouse; it also help in finding the best suitable location of warehouse after analysing the demand & supply balance and taking into account of total logistics cost (TLC) involved.  Inventory management, JIT, lean manufacturing, agility, reduction in lead time and TLC can be made best possible through GISCM. Logistics increasingly involves sophisticated information and communication technologies to coordinate these dispersed and intricate systems. Leanness, JIT or agility can be planned through properly integrated monitoring and tracking system, which gives the manager the snap shot after taking into the account of all the stock available at manufacturing unit, warehouses or even the inventory on the move. [30, 31, 32] This is made possible by latest satellite tracking, GPS, internet, mobile communication and RFID technologies as well as by integration of all geographically dispersed data through software.  This all situation demands formulation of new strategy by integrating GISCM.
The globalization of manufacturing and the geographic scattering of economic movement have elevated the prominence of the transportation and logistics segments of the economy. One sector in specific that has experienced noteworthy expansion is oceanic transport and container shipping . Supply chain disruption has adverse effects on both revenue and costs . In 1990s transportation and communication accelerated slowly to be on their way. In twenty first century it has been renovated into the much broader idea of logistics; which has become an overbearing element in the business as well as restructuring of the globalizing bargain. The fast track redeployment of the global transport structure has a direct influence on progressions of globalization  .
The relationship has been determined between cargo and economic growth, in which the main leading factor is the merchandise transports demand. It has been well established that the cargo present obvious rectilinear relationship to the variables the population, GDP, total retail transactions of consumer merchandises as well as the fixed resources invested on transportation and telecommunication . Product proliferation is a conjoint challenge for corporations providing customized products. To cope with this test, corporations usually integrate strategies such as component cohesion, postponement, and delayed discrepancy in their supply chains . One of the apprehension about the usage of Eurasia as a land bridge for container traffic; is revealed that the lead time benefit of land bridges (with respect to its costs) would be appropriate for a manufacturer; but the challenges of ports and railway transportations makes it less attractive as a possible alternative . The inventories stored in ideally located logistics hub's warehouses can be anticipated to play an important role in global logistics . Transportations are modal maneuvers incorporated in logistics while logistics itself is the core process of the supply chain management . The effects of product-market feature on logistics strategy formulation have been established at business division or corporation level .
Globalization of markets has received much attention and has comprehensively been debated at the public/formal/cultural levels as well as at the market and industry levels. In any globalization progression, dissemination of goods and services amongst and within local industrialized and consumer markets is of enormous importance . Linkage between corporate and commercial unit strategies can be established with the help of supply chain and logistics proficiencies . The complex environment of China's budget and political deliberations may impact the practices of logistics strategy and SCM practices . There is a deficiency of empirical studies concentrating on South Asia and Middle East region with respect to formulation of logistics strategy; which forms strong basis for conducting this case study. In today's extremely competitive global market, there is great stress on rivalries to find new customs to create value proposition. Distribute of goods to the customers is facing strongest competition. There has been an enlightening recognition that proficient logistics management in SCM can principally assists in cost saving and service enrichment . An in-depth examination of the relationship among green, lean, agile, responsive, sustainable, postponement, and global supply chain strategies as found in the literature revealed that; the three supply chain strategies have many barriers, as well as many converging but contradictory drivers . Optimization of regional supply chains by utilizing renewable energy sources is getting much attention. Sustainable, green SCM and logistics is the top most concerned of not academia only rather it has got due awareness in leading industry as well. Researchers are developing frameworks which are promptly being adapted by leading industry leadership.[40-43]
Research Problem Statement:
In the last decade and half China has emerged as an economic and technological giant. Its transition from world's sluggish economy to a rapidly developing one was made possible due to two factors: a) vast resource of cheap labour, and b) its ability of mass customized production. Much of China's financial growth, that ensued, was due to the expansion of its exports and off-shore engineering. May be due to the need for cheap goods the US which was one of the biggest exporter became the biggest importer of Chinese goods. Globalization has affected regional supply chain along with challenging the global logistics, Agility, leanness, just-In-Time. China has recently developed its western and central region as duty free zone, which has converted central China into light engineering cluster. However, the east coast of China is more than 2,500 kilometers away from central China which is a great impediment to good SCM practices. A number of studies have been carried out to check the feasibility to connect directly central China with Europe through land route and then North America through sea route to minimize distance, lead time and total logistics cost. In the past studies have been carried out to evaluate the feasibility of land route options between China and Europe or the Northern Arctic Ocean route [3, 4, 5], but these were not found to be cost effective.
Most of the Chinese shipping vessels destinations are Middle East, Europe or North America. Historically, U.S.-Asian trade had occurred by the straightest route, i.e. through the Pacific Ocean to seaports on the west coast of the United States, resulting in west coast ports experiencing congestion . Alternative to this route, two options are available but both of these comparatively follow the longer route. First alternative route passes through Pacific Ocean, Panama Canal, Caribbean Sea and finally passing through Atlantic Ocean, this route terminate at North American seaports. Second alternative to this route originates from China passes through straits of Malacca, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea Suez Canal, Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean and onwards Europe or North America. One third of world's trade follows this route and commonly known as Royal Road (fig-2 Route option-3) . Merchandises from Eastern Asia to Europe follow the same Royal Road route till Mediterranean Sea and after that it bifurcates into two prongs one strait to northern America and second towards right to Europe. Royal Road route is the most commonly followed route by the ships moving between Asia and Europe. Constantly following lounger route lead to extend distances and lead time; resultantly extra TLC as well as generation of extra GHG emissions, which ultimately promotes global warming. All these problems impose great challenges to reinvigorate the existing logistics routes of the world; as well as provide corridor of opportunity in which we can revitalize the Silk Route (one of the world oldest trade route) by enhancing this route into Royal Silk Road (fig-2 Route option - 4). The capacity building of Royal Silk Road infrastructure will provide us numerous great opportunities to optimize logistics system; as well as offer long term, green and sustainable prosperity for global-village and especially for the Asia, Europe or even for Northern America [44 - 46].
Literature review suggests that there are numbers of existing strategies and models to manage supply chains, but results and findings of these studies are diverging and contradicting. None of the model or strategy known in present world's body of knowledge is comprehensive enough to solve all issues of SCM faced by MNC's operating at global scale. Business of the world today is very dynamic and extremely unpredictable. The best resource available to supply chain manger is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, but ERP also plans and manage resources of any MNC for static situations: whereas situations change every second day, due to any natural disaster or emergent demands. In our present system of planning we do cater for unforeseen emergencies, but these contingencies can only manage minor disruption in SCM. In case of actual catastrophic disaster or any other major accidental disruption in supply chains, we can't manage these uncertain situations amicably. Presently we can't plan for resources in transition stage i.e. resources on the move. Nowadays we have cutting edge technologies available with us in the form of GPS, RFID, GIS and latest means of telecommunications; which dictates us to switch over to dynamic planning instead of static planning. The challenge of managing supply chains for catastrophic disaster; provides us the opportunity to enhance and improvise our dynamic planning capabilities by switching over to Global Resource Planning (GRP). Second gap identified in literature review is the topmost requirement of vertical as well as horizontal integration of global resources to optimize and enhance logistics -SCM capabilities. Keeping in view above stated gaps in planning of logistics & SCM; following improved version of GISCM framework is suggested in figure-1 which has dynamic resource planning capability of GRP in the heart of the new GISCM framework. This framework will also be case tested and verified by pilot study. This framework is being adopted from  but improved by author. The framework is improved keeping systems engineering, agility, internet, RFID and GPS monitored SCM in view. Material flow from left to right, up and down both wards where shown with arrow (à). Likewise information flows from right to left and shown as dashed arrow (- - - à). On left side we have global material/ facility/ equipment suppliers or vendors and in center we have Manufacturing Execution System, where input loop ends. The material provided by vendors / suppliers is processed and manufacturing unit produces output products which are provided to customers directly or through warehouse by global transporters/ distributors/ logistics providers. Output loop starts from manufacturing unit and ends at customers. This framework ideally integrates resources, information, planning, execution, monitoring and reporting through horizontally as well as vertically. Material and information moves forward, backward, upward and downward throughout the system through use of GIS, GPS, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Internet Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) technologies. Integration of all the resources makes the system as Globally Integrated Supply Chain Management (GISCM), which uses Global Resource Planning as an efficient tool.
Figure: 1 GISCM Framework (Improved from 48)
The third issue found during literature review is the problem of formulation green and sustainable logistics strategy. [41, 43, 44, 46] Fourth issue identified is best location of logistics transit hub, which can reduce distances of supply chains, reduce lead time, to optimize agility, responsiveness, leanness, TLC as well as reduction in GHG emissions and global warming. These all factors will lead to formulation of green and sustainable logistics strategy through GISCM. All these problems pose great challenge to re invigorate the existing logistics strategies and SCM practices; so that resultantly we can "formulate green and sustainable logistics strategy through Globally Integrated Supply Chain Management".
Consistently following longer route is great impediment for good SCM practices, moreover extended lead time is the greatest hindrance in cost effective, responsive, agile, green and sustainable logistics. All these motives provide great challenge to reinvigorate the existing logistics system of the world. In this research we set out to find that:-
What exactly is green and sustainable logistics strategy in the literature?
How GISCM framework will help in formulating green and sustainable logistics strategy?
How effectively integration of sustainability in greening the logistics, reducing the supply chain distances; thus ultimately resulting in reduction of lead time, fuel consumption, greenhouse gases emissions, global warming as well as total logistics cost is possible?
How revival of the Silk Route into Royal Silk Road would contribute in formulating green and sustainable logistics strategy?
What all infrastructural improvements are required, for the capacity building of Pakistan and China; to make the Royal Silk Road, "Safe, Secure, and Capable of handling huge containerized traffic in all Weathers"?
What all kinds of guaranties / agreements will be required from the stakeholder governments; to ensure safe, secure, agile, smooth transition of the containerized merchandises; from one country to other including reduced customs formalities.
Significance of Research
Opting shorter route as well as applying green, sustainable andGISCM strategy (GIS, GPS, RFID and telecommunication embedded technologies) the trade of world will have following advantages:-
Reduction in cost
Green sustainable logistics.
Reduction in greenhouse gases.
Reduction in global warming
Responsive supply chains.
Quick response to orders.
Better Customer Satisfaction.
Better traceability and track ability.
Dynamic logistics planning.
On move Emergency diversion.
Originality/Value:- This research would be the first attempt to formulate green and sustainable logistics strategy with a particular focus on the China-South Asian Region. This study would also be first attempt towards development and case testing of Globally Integrated Supply Chain Management (GISCM) Framework.
Applicability:- The GISCM framework will be applicable on all kinds of merchandises and manufacturing products. This framework has ideal horizontal as well as vertical integration; for all kinds of inputs, outputs Manufacturing Execution System (MES), Advance Planning System (APS), Global Resource Planning (GRP), communication, execution, monitoring and reporting. The framework is evolved keeping the concurrent engineering and systems engineering approaches in view; having lean, agile and optimized SCM practices at the heart of the framework. This framework exploited the latest telecommunication technologies e.g. GSM internet, RFID, GPS monitored logistics, GIS based planning and GIS based vehicle routing.
Focus of the Study:- Focus of this study is the China - Central - South Asian region in particular and world in general.
Before formulating a mega strategy and suggesting structural changes, all existing practices of SCM will be evaluated, to meet following research objectives:-
To exploit the natural advantage from the strategic geographical location of Arabian Sea's costal port cities; by identifying the shortest possible trade route for Central China & Central Asian countries.
To find the best optimal location of Logistics Transit Hub (LTH) for the China - Central - South Asian country's merchandises; by changing the location of LTH from Dubai / Gulf port cities to Pakistan's port cities. This optimally identified LTH will obviously take full advantage of the shorter route passing through Khyber or Khunjrab pass.
To fully exploit advantage of reduce transportation distances and lead time, which will ultimately result in improving tariff and economic conditions especially for the China - Central - South Asian region, Pakistan, Middle East, Europe and North America in particular and global-village in general.
To fully exploit advantage of reduce transportation distances which will ultimately result in reduction of oil Consumption / GHG emission / Global warming; which will fulfill dream of UN-Global initiative of Green and Sustainable planet.
To develop and pilot test GISCM strategy framework.
This thesis will focuses on identification of all potential route options from CARs, central China to Middle East, Europe and North America as well as finding best possible shortest route. Optimization in terms of distances, lead time and fuel consumption will lead to economic-soundness as well as improvement in SCM practices. It will surely be a value proposition which will have direct positive impact on global business, however all these opportunities are linked with challenges.
Quantitative, heuristics and fright cost modeling for China - Central - South Asian region; will help us in the identification of shorter route as well as optimal location of logistics transit hub.
Different scenarios of route options can be created e.g. the route distance between two locations could be calculated in two different manners:-
(i) Shortest possible aerial distance between two locations (bird's path). In order to calculate the aerial distance between two locations being studied, Zipoid software will be used. The distance calculated with the help of software will also be validated from the database available on the website: http://www.timeanddate.com .
(ii) Secondly using ArcGIS network analyst, distance between two locations will be calculated as per actual road/rail/sea network length (on earth path). On any particular route, if sea distance will be involved, then for the calculation of total distance and lead time, APL shipping company database regarding port rotation time and transit time will be utilized .
Simulation for GHG emission footprints on each possible route will be evaluated which would help us in formulation of green and sustainable logistics strategy.
During modeling and simulation, various scenarios will be built in which every possible route option will be weighed. Every route will thoroughly be evaluated in terms of distances, lead time, fuel consumption, greenhouse gases emission, global warming effects and most importantly in terms of total cost. These simulations will enable us to achieve optimization in terms of above stated parameters.
Secondary data will be collected from official publications, reports as well as from official websites of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), IHS - Global Insight, International Transportation Forum, World Bank regarding maritime logistics trade data, ports throughput, volume of container handled.
However, many futuristic situations can develop which are enormously difficult to envisage with accuracy and conviction, due to the geo-political fluctuating dynamics of the world we live in today.
An essential part of this study is a comparison of the total door-to-door transportation costs and transit times for a range of currently available transport solutions carrying containerized cargo from East Asia to Middle East, Europe and North America.
Simulation will include the full door-to-door transportation costs and the related transit times for the relevant modes of transport (maritime, air, rail and trucking). The bulk of the analyzed freight rates will cover transport out of Central China to various major European destinations and to the US (East and West Coast). This will reflect the actual flow of cargo. For the purpose of comparing alternative routings of cargo certain other destinations will be covered, including Dubai (in the Middle East) and a port on the Western Europe.
The study will base on true door-to-door solutions. To allow for a comparison between the modes of transport, the data presented for the sea, air and rail solutions are inter-modal, i.e. they include 100 km of trucking at both origin and destination. This makes it possible to assess the cost and transit time of each option more directly.
There are number of key assumptions for conducting this case study, including the following:
Freight rate quotations will be stated for a single container. Larger customers are usually able to obtain significantly better rates from operators. However, this applies to all modes of transport.
Insurance cost and other payments related to liabilities will not be included. However, obligatory payments for surveillance/guarding will be included in the quoted freight rates. As a general rule, this type of cost is lower for transportation solutions that enjoy large volumes.
Transit times will be stated as indicated by the freight forwarders/operators. However, delays caused by congestion or other situations road accidents may likely can occur.
Both freight rate quotes and transit times will be based on a relatively small simulated forecast for each of the analyzed transport legs.
Work Plan (Gantt chart attached as Anx-A)
Activity Probable Duration
Final Proposal Defense April, 2011
Literature Review May - August, 2011
Re-Evaluation of Research Questions September, 2011
Data Collection October - December, 2011
Data Processing January - May, 2012
(Modeling, Simulation, Forecasting)
Preparation of Research Paper for Journal June, 2012
Thesis Write up July - December, 2012
Final thesis defense January, 2013
Different scenarios of route options as pilot study were created, e.g. the route distances between two locations were calculated in two different manners. Table -1 shows the distances calculated after creating few scenarios. If the distances calculated by both methods are same, only one distance is mentioned in the table. However, if the distances of same route is different, then both the aerial as well as the actual earth route distance are mentioned. In all subsequent calculations this actual earth route distance (road, rail or sea) is used instead of the aerial route. After calculating the distances of different routes, total lead time was also calculated by using actual road, rail or sea route transit time data.
Table - 1: Distances of various routes from central China to Sea Ports of the World
Central China Xining
2208 / 2500*
Karachi (Land Route)
5345 / 7314*
Karachi (Sea Route)
Central China Xining
Karachi (Land Route)
3578 / 4814*
4148 / 4680*
11702 / 14525*(by Sea)
New York (Direct Via Air)
Central China Xining
New York via sSan Francisco (Land Route)
Central China Xining
New York via San Francisco &Panama (Pacific Route)
Central China Xining
New York via Karachi land + Sea (Atlantic Route)
London via Sea route
Central China Xining
Karachi via (Sea route) Shanghai +Singapore +Colombo= Karachi
Central China Xining
London via land route
Central China Xining
London via (Sea route) Shanghai +Colombo+ Aden + Casablanca
Central China Xining
London via (Land + Sea route)
+Karachi + Aden + Casablanca
Notes: 1. * Distance calculated as per actual road/rail/sea route.
2. In all subsequent calculations this actual land route (*) is used instead of aerial route.
The results shows that merchandise produced in china has to move long distances before reaching Middle East, northern countries of Africa, Europe and even eastern coastal cities of North America. Fig. 1 shows two scenarios, marked on map as route 1 and 2. Both routes, originating from central China, pass through one of the east coastalcities of China (which, for this study, is commonly taken as Shanghai) and then through Pacific Ocean to the North America. In Fig.1 Route -1, after passing through Pacific Ocean, passes through one of the west coastal city of the North America (which, for this study, is commonly taken as San Francisco) and then it follows a land route to reach one of easterncoastalcities of North America (which, for this study, is commonly taken as New York City); whereas in Fig.1 Route - 2 passes through Pacific Ocean, Panama Canal, Caribbean sea, Atlantic Ocean ultimately terminating along with Route-1.
Fig. Route scenarios - 1 and 2 from central China to New York City
Two more scenarios are shown in Fig. 2 and marked on map as route 3 and 4. Up until Shanghai scenario created in route option - 3 follows the same route as scenarios 1 and 2, but after Shanghai, route - 3 follows alternative path of straits of Malacca, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, through Suez Canal, Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean reaches New York City.
Fig. 2 Route scenarios - 3 and 4 from central China to New York City
But for Middle East and Europe Route - 3 is the only route customarily followed marked in Fig-1 as Royal Road. Whereas Route - 4 (Royal Silk Road) is revival of one of the oldest trade route of the world. This route originates from central China, follows a land route over Pakistan (through silk route or nowadays this route is known as K.K.H.), then this route passes through Arabian Sea and finally it join with Royal Road, or Route - 3 at Gulf of Aden. In these scenarios four different route options was measured to identify shortest possible route from central China to New York City. Likewise shortest possible route option for cities of London, Aden, Cairo, and Casablanca were also calculated.
Primary Conclusions: (Pilot Tested Conclusions of Case Study)
(1) Our analyses suggest that Route - 4 compared with the Route - 3, is the much economical route for Middle East, northern costal countries of Africa, Europe or even eastern coastal cities of North America; as this route reduces distance by 5124 Km. Route - 4 compared with the Route - 3, also reduces lead time by almost 7 days for Middle East, northern costal countries of Africa, Europe or even eastern coast cities of North America.
(2) Route - 4 is even economical route for eastern coastal cities of North America as compared to Route - 2 (Panama Canal route). Route - 4 reduces lead time by 3-4 days and distance by 1338 km from central China to New York as compared to Route - 2 (Panama Canal route).
(3) In case of electing direct road or rail option from central China to Europe, it is not simply a question of transit time and reliability; it is also a question of cost, which is higher than
Route - 4 option.
(4) Following the Royal Silk Road (which is a shortest route for Middle East, Northern Coastal cities of Africa, almost complete Europe as well as for northern America ) will reduce consumption of oil; so we can in most cost-effective manner meet our objectives; e.g. integrate sustainability in greening the global logistics and SCM; reducing the supply chain distances; thus ultimately resulting in reduction of lead time, fuel consumption, greenhouse gases emissions, global warming as well as TLC.
(5) Results show that if we follow new Route - 4 Royal Silk Road, it also provides us the best optimal location of logistics transit hub. To reap the benefits of agile, optimized, lean, coast effective logistics and SCM in the region; two Pakistan's coastal cities of Karachi and Gwadar can ideally be converted as logistics transit hub.
(6) One problem associated with following the Royal Silk Road is that although it reduces the total distance; but on other hand it increase the distance travelled by road portion; so the chances of road traffic accidents comparatively increases. However this problem can efficiently be managed by better road traffic management as well as by capacity enhancement of the existing infrastructure. The cost expended on capacity building will have very little amount as compared to the financial benefits gained; in optimized, Sustainable, green logistics and SCM.