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3PL/Outsourcing June 13, 2018

An analysis of third party logistics (3PL) market with respect to the rising e-commerce sector

Third Party Logistics (3PL) Market is projected to surpass USD 1 trillion by 2024. Growing focus towards cost effectiveness and core business functions incurred in logistics are the major factors driving the third-party logistics market over the forecast timeframe. Rising transportation costs will encourage shippers to discover new alternatives in order to minimize distribution and shipping costs out of the supply chain. 3PL market service providers offers timely and effective logistics solutions which in turn optimize transportation costs. The rising trend of e-commerce accompanied by entrepreneurial ventures will favor the 3PL market demand for customized logistics services.

Outsourcing operations helps various firms having less number of resources to cater higher order volume in an economical way. It also helps in cutting down costs and optimizing the overall logistics set-up which includes data warehousing of software systems, installation of more computers and processing equipment. Leading service providers are increasingly adopting IT solutions to improve their distribution coverage and enhance service quality delivered to the customers.

However, factors such as risk containment, inconsistent freight volumes, lack of trust, emphasis on cost and sluggish economical growth may restrict the industry growth. Economic downfalls have led shippers to confine their outsourcing activities to few suppliers. Thus, decreasing the number of outsourcing operations and may negatively affect the industry growth over the forecast timeframe.

International transportation management (ITM) is expected to witness significant growth and exceed USD 350 billion by 2024. The domestic transportation management includes value added services as well as freight brokerage and is estimated to grow at over 5% CAGR. Warehousing and distribution (W&D) occupied over 20% of the overall 3PL market share in 2016. It consists of long-term agreements, contract warehousing and distribution center operations with various value addition services.
Asia Pacific 3PL market is projected to surpass USD 400 billion by 2024. The growth can be credited to increasing adoption of warehousing and distribution centers and facilities in countries such as India, China, Thailand, and Singapore. Rapid technological advancements in logistics software will propel the U.S. 3PL market growth.

Participants involved in the 3PL market include Kuehne+Nagel, Deutsche Post DHL (Exel), C.H. Robinson, Expeditors International of Washington, UPS Supply Chain Solutions, etc. The business is fragmented and the strategies adopted by companies include collaboration and partnerships, long term agreements with key industries such as automotive, and retail. Most of these providers are large and have the financial resources to maintain their dedicated IT staff and own servers. The advanced technologies they use are mostly limited to Warehouse Management System (WMS) and Transportation Management System (TMS) applications. Several smaller companies find the costs of such applications too high to be profitable.

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