Modern’s look at the largest 3PL and refrigerated facilities by size shows continued strength for both markets.
A look at the third-party logistics (3PL) market shows that e-commerce remains the driving force behind growth and change, and this pattern is expected to continue, according to 3PL consultancy and market research firm Armstrong & Associates, who compiles the list of Top 20 North American 3PLs.
And although Amazon is synonymous with e-commerce, it does not appear on the list of the Top 20 North American 3PLs. The companies on this list, unlike the notoriously secretive Amazon, have either provided square footage information or enough public information for Armstrong & Associates to make a reasonable estimate. Nevertheless, Dick Armstrong, chair of Armstrong & Associates, says Amazon wields plenty of influence on the 3PL market.
“We’re tracking them, and there’s no doubt about it: They are in the 3PL business in a lot of what they do,” he says. “Anywhere they want to move, they’re the 800-pound gorilla. They just move there. Everyone is talking about e-commerce now, and Amazon has moved the market a lot in that direction with things like home delivery and same-day delivery.”
From an operations perspective, Armstrong sees 3PLs moving toward automated load acceptance as they continue to digitize load management. In the coming years, he predicts it will become increasingly common for shippers to list loads electronically. Pre-qualified carriers can then access the list and accept a load. The load will still be tendered in the real world, but the transaction will be maintained as part of that software, Armstrong says, which will track the load from end to end at all critical stage