Uneven Economy Has Little Impact on 3PLs, Says Report

TIA officials said this is the 18th edition of this report, which was initially released in April 2009.

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As a whole, market conditions in the third-party logistics (3PL) sector appear to be holding up well, despite the uneven nature of the economy, according to the 1st Quarter 2012 TIA 3PL Market Report by the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA).

TIA officials said this is the 18th edition of this report, which was initially released in April 2009. It focuses on 3PL industry trends and practices, with an objective to provide a representative understanding of what is happening in the 3PL industry.

Data for the report is based on confidential feedback from 33 TIA member companies, whom answer questions on various topics, including: number of shipments by mode, total billing, and gross margins. Other data collected are customer-based forecasts to offer up expectations of near-term business volume.

Total revenue in the first quarter for all TIA member study participants—at roughly $2.27 billion—was up 3.0 percent compared to the first quarter of 2012, and total shipments—at 1,307,062 saw a 3.2 percent annual increase. First quarter invoice amount per shipment—at $1,739—dipped 0.2 percent annually, and profit margin—at 13.6 percent—was off by 0.7 percent.

According to the report, nearly 98 percent of 3PL revenue cited came from truckload, intermodal, or less-than-truckload at 72 percent, 18 percent, and 8 percent, respectively, with each of these modes seeing annual gains in shipments.

Truckload shipments were up 3.1 percent annually, and LTL shipments were up 2.6 percent, with intermodal was up 2.0 percent. Revenues for truckload, LTL, and intermodal were up 2.4 percent, 6.5 percent, and 4.0 percent, respectively.

Mark Christos, a member of the TIA Board of Directors, Chair of the TIA 3PL Market Report and vice president at Matson Logistics, said in an interview that one of the biggest takeaways of the report was that there was similar shipment growth in each of these three primary modes that the participating 3PLs offer to their shipper customers.

“In the past, that has seen some volatility, due at times to one certain mode being down” he said. “But there was similar growth among the three this time, which is encouraging.”

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]

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