UPDATED BY
Brennan Whitfield | Sep 21, 2023

Third party logistics companies, or 3PLs, fulfill and ship orders on behalf of the businesses that contract them. They handle all the distribution, warehousing, fulfillment and shipping aspects of online sales.

Third Party Logistics (3PL) Companies to Know

  • DHL
  • Arrive Logistics
  • United Parcel Service (UPS)
  • Total Quality Logistics
  • ShipMonk
  • FedEx
  • Uber
  • Ryder System

Of course, there’s a lot more to third party logistics than packing orders into boxes and throwing them on a truck. 3PL companies manage order invoices, track packages and keep in touch with consumers — all of which requires a suite of technology. That’s why warehouse management systems use analytics tools to track labor and inventory in real time, and why artificial intelligence and robots are deployed to speed things up on the warehouse floor. 

Put this all together and you get a global third party logistics market worth more than $1 trillion, as of 2022.

Here’s just a handful of 3PL companies at the forefront of this booming industry.

 

Third Party Logistics Companies to Know

DHL is a major global logistics company, offering a wide range of services including nationwide parcel delivery, e-commerce shipping and fulfillment offerings, industrial supply chain management and international express, road, air and ocean transport. In 2018, the company launched its own IoT solution, using sensor-enabled trucks that gather data like location, weather, traffic and shipment information in order to make smarter decisions on scheduling and route optimization. The company has also become a leader in blockchain-backed logistics, using it to keep a digital ledger of its shipments in order to maintain the integrity of transactions.

Industries DHL serves: Automotive, energy, life sciences and healthcare, retail, technology

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With a specific focus on international trade, Expeditors offers flexible and comprehensive services for industries ranging from fashion and retail to automotive and aviation. Its services include air and ocean freight consolidation and forwarding, vendor management, customs clearance, cargo insurance and distribution services. The company also offers a range of tech and data-driven services, including shipping forecasting, sensor-based logistics and even digital twins for supply chain management as a way to test for new strategies for cost reductions, carbon mitigation and efficiency gains.

Industries Expeditors serves: Automotive, aviation and aerospace, healthcare, oil and energy, retail 

 

Named after its founder, Charles Henry Robinson, C.H. Robinson has evolved from a wholesale produce brokerage house in Grand Forks, North Dakota, to one of the most powerful logistics companies in the world — providing freight transportation and logistics, produce sourcing, outsource solution and tech services to thousands of customers around the world. Coca-Cola, General Mills and Target are just a few of the companies that use C.H. Robinson’s services.

Industries C.H. Robinson serves: Automotive, energy, food and beverage, healthcare, retail

 

As a logistics broker, Arrive partners with a network of shippers and carriers to offer custom shipping solutions to businesses all over the U.S., including major brands like Home Depot, Samsung and Kellogg’s. As one of the fastest growing logistics companies in the country, Arrive offers a suite of fleet options, from small trucks to large temperature-controlled containers. It also has a platform called ARRIVEnow that customers can use to increase their productivity, make their shipments more transparent and reduce any excess waste.

Industries Arrive Logistics serves: Beer and wine, consumer, food and beverage, retail, technology

 

XPO Logistics’ network of trucks, drivers and terminals enable coast-to-coast shipping across the United States, as well as Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Its speciality areas include freight brokerage, intermodal and short-distance logistics and last-mile distribution. 

Industries XPO serves: Aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, life sciences, retail

 

Echo Global Logistics provides tech-enabled transportation and supply chain management services for shippers and carriers all over the world. By leveraging artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced load matching algorithms, Echo offers a smart, transparent and connected way to transport goods. It also has more than 30 warehouses across the United States, each capable of direct-to-consumer services and forward stocking.

Industries Echo Global Logistics serves: Supply chain management, transportation

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More commonly known as UPS, United Parcel Service is reportedly the largest courier company in the world by revenue. And it has come a long way from its 1907 founding, outfitting its massive delivery fleet with IoT sensors that record hundreds of data points so that it can optimize package transport from warehouse to doorstep. Through AI and machine learning, UPS uses this data to reduce fuel consumption, allow for package tracking and provide faster routes to truck drivers. In 2019 the company also began dipping its toes into drone delivery, and says it will be launching its first fleet of eVTOLs in 2024.

Industries UPS serves: Consumer, e-commerce, supply chain management

 

As one of the largest shipping outfits in the world, Fedex handles an average 16.5 million packages a day globally. The company is also at the forefront of logistics tech innovation. Its Fedex Compatible offering provides businesses with software solutions for specific aspects of their operations like warehouse or transportation management. And its Fedex Developer Portal allows businesses to fold services like shipping label printing and package tracking into their existing software system. Fedex has also integrated blockchain technology to produce a more trustworthy, timely and transparent shipping record so that it can more effectively rectify customer disputes and answer questions.

Industries FedEx serves: Aerospace, beer and wine, consumer, e-commerce, healthcare

 

Total Quality Logistics offers the technology and connections necessary for businesses needing to transport their inventory anywhere in North America. Boasting a network of more than 90,000 carriers, the company can handle shipments big and small, and allows users to track their inventory, submit documents and more of its web portal and mobile app. 

Industries Total Quality Logistics serves: Supply chain management, transportation

 

ShipMonk aims to streamline the complexities of direct-to-consumer and B2B omnichannel fulfillment by syncing directly with retailers’ sales channels so that it can automatically import orders. From there, ShipMonk stores, packs and ships each order using whatever method its algorithm suggests is cheapest and most efficient. The company’s 3PL services are specifically designed for e-commerce businesses, subscription box companies and crowdfunding campaigns of all sizes.

Industries ShipMonk serves: Consumer, e-commerce, supply chain management

 

Lineage Logistics focuses specifically on temperature-controlled storage and shipping, making it an ideal resource for companies that handle food and other perishable items. Some of its more notable services include customizable warehouses for maximizing efficiency and reducing costs, and a data-driven transportation management system to get products where they need to be faster.

Industries Lineage Logistics serves: Food and beverage, supply chain management

 

Acquired by UPS in 2015, Coyote Logistics pairs predictive analytics, AI and machine learning with real-time traffic and weather to help shippers better predict supply chain issues before they ever occur. That way, companies are able to make alternate plans so that their shipments still arrive on time, despite the roadblocks. Coyote also offers users a centralized marketplace of shippers and carriers ranging from partial truckloads to intermodal transport.

Industries Coyote Logistics serves: Food and beverage, manufacturing, retail

 

Uber is perhaps best known as a leading rideshare company, but it also offers a variety of products in the realm of logistics, including Uber Connect for same-day deliveries and Uber Freight, which connects companies sending out shipments with trucking companies. The company also operates Uber Eats for delivering meals, groceries and alcoholic beverages, thanks to a 2021 acquisition of booze delivery startup Drizly.

Industries Uber serves: Beer and wine, consumer, food and beverage, transportation 

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Ryder offers a variety of fleet management, transportation and supply chain solutions to help companies of all sizes deliver goods to their customers. All of Ryder’s vehicles come equipped with advanced IoT technology for collecting real-time performance data and GPS tracking. It uses the same technology for smart warehousing and e-commerce enablement as well.

Industries Ryder serves: Automotive, food and beverage, healthcare, oil and gas, technology

 

Worldwide Express partners with small and mid-size businesses to help solve their immediate shipping needs to anticipate what’s next. The company claims to handle more than 120,000 shipments a day through the networks of UPS, as well as 75 less than truckload (LTL) carriers and about 85,000 trucking partners. It also operates its own transportation management system to help businesses manage online orders, make shipments and analyze their data so they can both address challenges and identify future opportunities.

Industries Worldwide Express serves: Consumer, e-commerce, transportation

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a third party logistics company?

A third party logistics (3PL) company is one that provides order fulfillment, distribution and shipping services for businesses that contract them. 

3PL companies can manage order packaging and warehousing, track inventory and handle customer service for clients. They are often used by large businesses.

What is an example of third party logistics?

Companies like DHL, UPS and FedEx shipping packages to homes is an example of third party logistics.

What is the largest third party logistics company?

DHL is one of the largest third party logistics companies by revenue, earning $100.6 billion in 2022.

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