Leading 3PL providers

The 3PL logistics industry has undergone some dramatic changes in the last decade which saw some major mergers and acquisitions. The resulting companie...

Freddie Pierce
|Apr 30|magazine13 min read

The 3PL logistics industry has undergone some dramatic changes in the last decade which saw some major mergers and acquisitions. The resulting companies, with their strengthened global presence and industry expertise, have come to dominate the global 3PL market. Supply Chain Digital has taken the opportunity to profile five of the biggest 3PL networks in the world currently.

While North American and European logistics companies rule the roost today, this looks set to change in the next decade, as China and India vie for a foothold in the 3PL sector. With regard to the recession, European companies have been hardest hit, which has slowed growth.

According to the 2009 Third-Party Logistics Study, 71 percent of respondents said “unpredictable demand is the most difficult challenge to managing and operating a supply chain in an economic downturn”.

Efficiency is also key to any 3PL provider’s success, particularly in the current climate. Certainly, the companies listed operate highly efficient business models that have been replicated worldwide. In fact, this is one of the reasons for their influence in the global 3PL market.


Founded: 1994 as Deutsche Bahn AG

Services: DB Schenker provides a host of transport and logistics services by air, ocean and land. In addition, it has a goods transport rail network at its disposal, and can specialize in supply chain management as well as contract logistics.

CEO: Dr. Rüdiger Grube (Deutsche Bahn AG)

No. of employees: 91,000

No. of locations: 2,000 in 130 countries

Turnover: 15 billion euros



Founded: 2007 as a result of the merger between TNT Logistics and EGL Eagle Global Logistics

Services: From contract logistics, to end-to-end supply chain, to freight management and consulting,CEVA Logistics covers the spectrum of services. Its strength lies in the fact it was borne from a merger between two well established companies: TNT and EGL. The latter’s freight management pedigree and TNT’s expertise in the field of logistics combined to form one of the world’s largest 3PL providers.

CEO: John Pattullo

No. of employees: 46,000

No. of locations: 170 countries

Turnover: 5.5 billion euros



Founded: 1969

Services: DHL is a leader in the international express and logistics industry. The company operates four specialist divisions: Express, Global Forwarding/Freight, Supply Chain and Mail. Its presence in over 200 countries makes DHL arguably one of the biggest providers of logistics and supply chain services globally.

CEO: Frank Appel

No. of employees: 300,000

No. of locations: 200 countries

Turnover: 46.2 billion euros



Founded: 1990

Services: The California-based freight transportation and logistics company delivers its services through three operating companies: Con-Way Freight, Con-Way Truckload and Menlo Worldwide Logistics. The operating units specialize in less-than-truckload (LTL), full truckload and intermodal freight transportation; logistics, warehousing and supply chain management services; and trailer manufacturing.

CEO: Douglas W. Stotlar

No. of employees: 30,000

No. of locations: 440 locations in 18 countries

Turnover: $4.3 billion



Founded: 80 years ago

Services: Cat Logistics’ expertise lies in strategic supply chain design and analysis using network modelling tools. Its end-to-end solutions integrate supply chain design with efficiency. Meanwhile, its Service Parts Management (SPM) solution utilizes visibility in the supply chain to enhance collaboration.

President: Steve Larson      

No. of employees: 12,000

No. of locations: 130 locations in 23 countries

Turnover: $32.4 billion