Characterising spatial logistics employment clusters

Chhetri, Prem; Butcher, Tim and Corbitt, Brian (2014). Characterising spatial logistics employment clusters. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 44(3) pp. 221–241.



The purpose of this paper is twofold. First to identify economic activities and broader spatial logistics functions that characterise an urban setting, and second to delineate significant spatial logistics employment clusters to represent the underlying regional geography of the logistics landscape.

Using the four-digit Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, industries “explicitly” related to logistics were identified and aggregated with respect to employment. A principal component analysis was conducted to capture the functional interdependence of inter-related industries and measures of spatial autocorrelation were also applied to identify spatial logistics employment clusters.

The results show that the logistics sector accounts for 3.57 per cent of total employment and that road freight, postal services, and air and space transport are major employers of logistics managers. The research shows significant spatial clustering of logistics employment in the western and southern corridors of Melbourne, associated spatially with manufacturing, service industry and retail hubs in those areas.

Research limitations/implications
This research offers empirically informed insights into the composition of spatial logistics employment clusters to regions that lack a means of production that would otherwise support the economy. Inability to measure the size of the logistics sector due to overlaps with other sectors such as manufacturing is a limitation of the data used.

Practical implications
The research offers policymakers and practitioners an empirically founded basis on which decisions about future infrastructure investment can be evaluated to support cluster development and achieve economies of agglomeration.

The key value of this research is the quantification of spatial logistics employment clusters using spatial autocorrelation measures to empirically identify and spatially contextualize logistics hubs.

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