Top 50 3PLs: Seeing into the future of global logistics

Finding the right third party logistics provider (3PL) in today’s global marketplace involves looking beyond the provider’s “vision” statement, say industry experts. Yet, they also acknowledge that there’s still an element of prognostication involved once a short list of the Top 50 has been whittled down.

By · June 1, 2013

One of the key takeaways from this year’s list of Top 50 Global third-party logistics providers (3PLs)—compiled by market consultancy Armstrong & Associates—is that business forecasting is becoming increasingly important to shippers when choosing the provider that best fits their needs. This notion becomes even more urgent when one considers that the 3PL market compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 1996 to 2012 fell 0.3 percent to 10 percent.

Domestic transportation management (DTM) led financial results for 3PL segments again in 2012. Gross revenues were up 9.2%, and at the same time, the cost of purchasing transportation, increased competition, and slackened demand are pressuring DTM gross margins and net revenues. As a result, net revenues increased by only 5.4 percent. Overall gross margins were 14.6 percent—in 2011 they were 15.2 percent. However, overall 3PL earnings before interest, tax, and net income margins remained strong, ringing in at 33.2 percent and 20.3 percent of net revenue respectively.

The key to sustaining that net income trend appears to be in the top provider’s ability to anticipate market trends, say analysts.

“Third party logistics providers are good at modeling transportation and distribution networks and identifying overall shifts in demand,” notes Evan Armstrong, the consultancy’s president. “But they also have the forecasting tools associated with integrated warehousing and transportation management.”

According to Armstrong, the leading players in the value-added area of forecasting are Menlo Worldwide, Ryder SCS, APL Logistics, Genco, UTi, and DB Schenker. “Based on our findings,” he says, “these companies can be leveraged by shippers to identify key inventory deployment locations and lower-cost transportation lanes.”

Read the full article plus access to slides, research papers, in-depth analysis, and much more.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Saddle Creek Resources
image Optimizing Omnichannel Distribution through Outsourcing
The omnichannel business model has fast become the gold standard in today’s marketplace as retailers and ecommerce companies recognize its potential impact.
Latest Whitepaper
Digital Issue: The Current State of Third-Party Logistics Services
It has become quite clear that logistics professionals are now facing an unprecedented set of challenges. From tightening capacity, to ongoing regulation hurdles, to the complexity brought on by e-commerce, today’s shippers are transforming the way they manage their logistics operations.
Download Today!
From the June 2017 Issue
Here are five trends that every shipper­—and potential shipper—must watch as the demand for experienced logistics and supply chain professionals soars.
2017 Rail/Intermodal Roundtable: Volume stable, business steady
Cross-Border Logistics: NAFTA tune-up time
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Women in Logistics: Breaking Gender Roles to Win the War for Talent
In this session you'll hear from a panel of women who are now leading top-level logistics and supply chain operations. The panel will share their success stories as well as advice for women who are now making their way up the ladder.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2017 Top 50 3PLs: Investment and Consolidation Maintain Traction
The trend set over the past few years for mergers and acquisitions has hardly subsided, and a fresh...
The Evolution of the Digital Supply Chain
Everyone is talking about terms like digitization, Industry 4.0 and digital supply chain management,...

2017 Salary Survey: Fresh Voices Express Optimism
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management...
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...