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Service quality in maritime transport : conceptual model and empirical evidence
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to extend knowledge on service quality and how it is defined and thus, managed, in the context of maritime transport by proposing and testing a new conceptual model of service quality.
Design/methodology/approach – The study used a sample of 197 shipping companies, port operators and freight forwarders/logistics service providers, employing the triangulation of both mail survey and in-depth interview techniques. A total of 120 usable questionnaires were returned and 25 interviews conducted. Data were analysed using the SPSS 13.0 software and thematic analysis technique.
Findings – It was found that service quality in maritime transport is a six-dimensional construct consisting of resources, outcomes, process, management, image, and social responsibility (ROPMIS), with each dimension measured by a number of explaining factors making up a total of 24 factors. Findings also revealed that factors involving the outcomes and process of service provision, as well as the management factors, which all focus on satisfying the customers, received high ranking. They also emphasised process and management-related factors which involve the centre of all quality systems: the human element.
Research limitations/implications – As this is the first stage of a more comprehensive study, the model was tested only with service providers, and this is the major limitation. Future research direction is desired, e.g. conducting the study using the same instruments on customers and compare the gaps with this research.
Originality/value – The major contribution of this study is to fully operationalise service quality as a six-dimensional construct in the context of maritime transport, and findings on the ranking of dimensions/factors involved in the model. Although this is the first model of service quality in maritime transport with specific quality factors, its generic dimensions could be generalised to other service sectors as well. The research also has great managerial implications as managers across maritime transport companies can use the tool to develop questionnaire for customer satisfaction survey, thus facilitating a universal benchmarking approach across the industry.
Publication titleAsia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics
Department/SchoolAustralian Maritime College
Place of publicationBingley UK
Rights statement© Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2008