Third-party purchase: an empirical study of Chinese third-party logistics users

Yangyan Shi, Abraham Zhang, Tiru Arthanari, Yanping Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – Third-party purchase (3PP) is a new value-added service offered by third-party logistics (3PL) providers. The purpose of this paper is to examine the perception of 3PP service from the perspective of 3PL users. Design/methodology/approach – The authors conducted a survey of Chinese 3PL users and received 242 usable responses. The authors then employed structural equation modeling to test the conceptual model. Findings – The authors found that the likelihood of 3PL users using a 3PP service is significantly associated with uncertainty, but not with asset specificity or frequency or transaction size. 3PP usage is significantly associated with value-to-client. Originality/value – This research is the first survey study of 3PP as a value-added service offered by 3PL providers, from the perspective of 3PL users. The findings suggest that 3PL users are very positive about the value of 3PP service. The 3PP market is still in its infancy but it has great potential, especially for commodity items that have less demand uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-307
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • Structural equation modelling
  • Supply chain management
  • Third-party logistics
  • Third-party purchase
  • Transaction cost analysis


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