Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Application of a Combined Delphi-AHP Method in Maritime Transport Research-A Review

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Application of a Combined Delphi-AHP Method in Maritime Transport Research-A Review

Article excerpt

Abstract

Although the Delphi and AHP techniques have been extensively utilised in maritime transport research, the application of a combination of both techniques together in this sector is still limited. Hence, this paper aims to review the application of a combined Delphi and AHP method in maritime transport research through a literature review process. Among others, this study looks into the area of research, the number of expert respondents employed, the minimum prerequisite set for the selection of respondents and whether there is a similarity of respondents in both the Delphi and AHP techniques. In a period that spans around 11 years between 2004 and 2014, it has been discovered that only a total of 8 studies involving the shipping and port sub-sectors have applied the combined method. It is hoped that this review could provide some guidance to researchers in the maritime transport or other relevant areas on how the combined technique could be implemented in future research.

Keywords: maritime transport, Delphi, analytic hierarchy process (AHP)

1. Introduction

Over the years, maritime transport has grown into a specialised field of research. This is evidenced from the increasing number of journals and conferences dedicated to maritime transport. This is not surprising because of the prominent role played by maritime transport in facilitating global trade. The recent report published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) indicated that about 80 percent of global merchandise trade by volume and 70 percent of the trade by value are transported by ships and handled by ports worldwide in 2013 (UNCTAD, 2014). Due to its increasing role as a global trade facilitator, maritime transport has to endure various types of challenges that have become increasingly complex. Owing to the complexity of the problems, different aspects of the unit of analysis have to be taken into account as the consequences of the problems are normally far reaching. In addressing this difficulty, complex decision making processes have been undertaken to enable the achievement of a desirable outcome. Among the main issues currently being analysed in maritime transport are low freight rate, soaring bunkering prices, environment sustainability, port efficiency, investment in bigger vessels and short sea shipping as an alternative to road transportation. Among the common methods used to analyse problems in the maritime transport sector are the Delphi technique and the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). Ever since they were introduced in 1963 and 1980 respectively, both methods have been extensively used either individually or in combination with other methods in the research process.

2. Aim

This paper aims to review the application of a combined Delphi and AHP technique in maritime transport research through a literature review process from accessible literature until early 2015 that could be traced through the Google Scholar as well as through the Mara University of Technology E-journal integrated search engine. It is hoped that this review could provide guidance to researchers in the maritime transport or other relevant areas on how the combined technique could be implemented in future research.

3. The AHP

The AHP is a type of Multi-Criteria Analysis, which has been extensively applied in research due to its suitability to address complicated and unstructured problems. The instrument that was developed by Saaty in 1980 is a method that uses hierarchical model comprising levels of goal, criteria, sub-criteria and alternatives (Saaty, 2008). Among the important strengths of the AHP method is its ability to integrate either subjective and objective perceptions, or tangible and intangible assessments based on simple pair-wise comparison matrices (Saaty, 1986) (Da Cruz, Ferreira, & Azevedo, 2013). It has been described as an easy and useful methodology to enable a pair-wise comparison within the analyst area of expertise to be carried out (Oguztimur, 2011). …

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