Supply chains and trade finance

The issue of finance is an integral one in the supply chain context, given that supply chains embody flows of information, capital, goods, and labour. The concept of credit chains, reviewed here, directly addresses this. The supply chain concept has traditionally tended to emphasise the tangible/material dimensions of the chain. As a result, the financial dimension had been relatively neglected in the literature. This changed with the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. As both a potential aggravator and victim of the crisis, trade finance and supply chains became the subject of a new and rapidly growing body of literature. Previously, the subject had been largely addressed in the context of operations research and economic development. We review findings from all research areas in the literature, and observe significant merit in the credit chain concept of supply chain financial flows. Migration of the concept to other areas of supply chain research could potentially address financial dimensions of supply chains that are otherwise underemphasised in the literature.

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