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A systematic review of China’s belt and road initiative: Implications for global supply chain management

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/04/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Production Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date15/04/19
Original languageEnglish


China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is one of the world’s largest infrastructure projects, with its potential political and economic impact being widely discussed since its inception in 2013. Yet the phenomenon has received only limited attention in the Supply Chain Management (SCM) literature. In response, we first conduct a broad systematic review of the literature to assess how China’s BRI is portrayed. Using this as a backdrop, we then distil the likely impact of the BRI on location decisions and supply chain flows. Finally, in a broader discussion of the SCM literature, we explore the implications of the BRI for future research in four key areas: supply chain configuration, supply chain resilience, sustainable SCM, and cross border SCM. While these areas are not new, the BRI presents a unique context that can be used to enhance theory and understanding in each area. The BRI reduces time distance independent of geographical distance by diverting supply chain flows from established routes to new routes via far less accessible regions. This introduces new risks and sustainability issues that call for multi-criteria decision support systems. Another important issue is the adoption and diffusion of the BRI since this will ultimately determine project success.