Original Research

Risk management in a bulk coal export logistic chain: A stakeholder perspective

André Botha, J. A. Badenhorst-Weiss
Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management | Vol 13 | a424 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v13i0.424 | © 2019 André Botha, J.A. (Hannie) Badenhorst-Weiss | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 October 2018 | Published: 15 April 2019

About the author(s)

André Botha, Exxaro Coal, Pretoria, South Africa
J. A. Badenhorst-Weiss, Department of Applied Management, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Background: In South Africa, the export of coal is a large contributor to the gross domestic product. Statistics indicate that the export of coal is stagnant or declining, which indicates a risk for coal as a foreign exchange earner. A study into the risks facing the bulk coal export logistics chain is therefore of great importance. Any risk to this logistics chain will directly affect its efficiency and contribution to foreign exchange. The nature of a logistics supply chain is such that risks to one stakeholder (partner or node) affect not only that stakeholder’s own operations but also those of the other partners and the whole supply chain’s efficiency and sustainability.

Objectives: The objective of the study was to identify and explore the risks and risk management practices in the bulk coal export logistics chain from a stakeholder theory perspective.

Methods: A qualitative research design was used, and in-depth, structured interviews were conducted with different stakeholders in the chain. A total of eight interviews were conducted, audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed by means of a thematic analysis.

Results: Many risks were identified in the bulk coal export logistics chain, and of these risks, it was found that the most important ones were infrastructure, the macro-economy and people-related risks. The findings revealed evidence of underlying tensions between different stakeholders with regard to investment to mitigate infrastructure risks. The findings suggest that there is a lack of communication and an aligned vision among the stakeholders in the logistics chain and that they strategise for their risks separately.

Conclusion: Close cooperation on a high level between the stakeholders in the logistics chain is needed to strategise for risk mitigation in an integrated, holistic manner.


logistics; risk management; bulk coal export logistics chain; stakeholder perspective; risk management; risk mitigation; risk score; infrastructure; qualitative research; thematic analysis; triangulation; developing countries


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