Logistics Clusters

Delivering Value and Driving Growth

Why is Memphis home to hundreds of motor carrier terminals and distribution centers? Why does the tiny island-nation of Singapore handle a fifth of the world’s maritime containers and half the world’s annual supply of crude oil? Which jobs can replace lost manufacturing jobs in advanced economies? Some of the answers to these questions are rooted in the phenomenon of logistics clusters—geographically concentrated sets of logistics related business activities. In this book, supply chain management expert Yossi Sheffi explains why Memphis, Singapore, Chicago, Rotterdam, Los Angeles, and scores of other locations have been successful in developing such clusters while others have not.

Sheffi outlines the characteristic “positive feedback loop” of logistics clusters development and what differentiates them from other industrial clusters; how logistics clusters “add value” by generating other industrial activities; why firms should locate their distribution and value-added activities in logistics clusters; and the proper role of government support, in the form of investment, regulation, and trade policy.


Sheffi also argues for the most important advantage offered by logistics clusters in today’s recession-plagued economy: jobs, many of them open to low-skilled workers, that are concentrated locally and not “offshorable.” These logistics clusters offer what is rare in today’s economy: authentic success stories. For this reason, numerous regional and central governments as well as scores of real estate developers are investing in the development of such clusters.



“Yossi Sheffi’s recognition of a select group of cities as logistics hubs, each with its own particularities, provides beneficial insight into new developments, business opportunities and services. His book stresses the dynamics and the different roles these trade hubs take on to serve the world; his detailed portrayal of each of the logistics hubs around the world and how he brings each case up to date is magnificent.”
Alberto Alemán Zubieta, Administrator/CEO, Panama Canal Authority

“As much as anyone I know, Yossi Sheffi has advanced the cause of logistics as an academic discipline. I often call on him for his unique insight on how logistics intersects the worlds of technology, public policy, global trade, and other macro issues. In his book, he gives us an account of the broader impact as opportunities emerge and business models change because of the timing advantages that come from close access to air transport and overnight connections to most any place in the world.”
D. Scott Davis, CEO, UPS

“Yossi Sheffi succinctly summarizes the major current developments in worldwide logistics in this well-written book.”
Frederick W. Smith, Chairman & CEO, FedEx Corporation

“Logistics has become an essential part of competition and the modern global economy. Logistics clusters, in which sets of logistics activities co-locate and concentrate in particular locations, have emerged across the globe. Such clustering unlocks large positive externalities and economic growth in logistics while stimulating related economic diversification in logistically intensive fields. Yossi Sheffi’s book provides a fascinating description of the power of clusters in services and the evolution of logistics clusters globally. This interesting book shows how clusters are getting more important in the global economy, not less, defying predictions of the end of geography.”
Michael E. Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, Harvard Business School

“This book provides valuable insights for business leaders who are building their global and Asian supply chains. We are proud that renowned supply chain management expert Yossi Sheffi has highlighted Singapore as one of the successful logistics clusters alongside cities like Memphis, Chicago, Rotterdam, and Los Angeles. Based on solid research and practical examples, Sheffi’s book offers a perceptive understanding of the roles governments, businesses, and academia can play to create an enabling environment for logistics clusters to thrive.”
Leo Yip, Chairman, Singapore Economic Development Board

“An insightful book, with real world cases from all over the globe, that show the benefits of logistics clusters. An interesting read for logistics professionals and certainly for us at Port of Rotterdam Authority, who focus on developing a vital port cluster both in Rotterdam and in some selected emerging clusters around the world.”
Hans N.J. Smits, President and CEO, Port of Rotterdam Authority

“Yossi Sheffi’s lucid book reveals how logistics clusters enhance the productivity of global supply chains, promote trade, sustain economic growth, and create good jobs.”
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum

“Yossi Sheffi has done a fabulous job of describing the role of the supply chain for our country and the rest of the world. The result is a new kind of development focused on logistics that is not only increasing the value and benefits of the supply chain, but lowering overall logistics costs, energy consumption and environmental emissions, while driving new capital investment and job-creating growth. Logistics Clusters is a must read for anyone interested in strengthening their competitive position in our national and global economies.”
Matthew K. Rose, Chairman & CEO, BNSF Railway Company



Logistics Clusters: Delivering Value and Driving Growth (MIT Press, 2012), was named an Honorable Mention in the Business, Finance & Management category at the 37th Annual PROSE Awards — the American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence.











The MIT Press, Reprint edition (August 29, 2014)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142



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