NECTAR Series on Transportation and Communications Networks Research
Edited by Kenneth Button and Aura Reggiani
Chapter 6: Parcel Distribution Networks for Online Shopping Business
Hyunwoo Lim and Narushige Shiode 6.1 INTRODUCTION One of the challenges faced by society is the rapid growth of e-commerce trade and its wider implications on transportation and economic development. Aside from its direct impact on the market economy, the emergence of the online market place has radically altered the notion of accessibility and opportunity in that it enables us to trade and complete transactions online without the need for the trip to a retail store. This, however, does not free us completely from the physical constraints of the real world. We remain dependent on the existing physical transport network as long as the need for delivering the products ordered online persists. This chapter is inspired by the imminent challenge brought forth by the growth of e-commerce; specifically, it explores options to better cope with the volatility as well as the continual growth in the pattern of logistic freight transport for online shopping activities. E-commerce can be generally defined as commercial activities carried out by the use of intelligent communication technologies (ICT) including the internet, and it can be divided broadly into three categories: business-to-business (B2B), consumer-to-consumer (C2C) and businessto-consumer (B2C) (Mokhtarian, 2004). In the case of the United States, e-commerce has grown, in recent years, at a much faster rate than the overall economic activity across the four major economic sectors: manufacturing, merchant wholesale trade, retail trade, and selected services. As of 2007, B2B accounted for 93 percent of e-commerce activities, which has predominantly relied on proprietary electronic data...
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