The total U.S. third-party logistics market has grown to become a $166.8 billion industry, according to market research firm Armstrong & Associates. Although the market has somewhat slowed, that still represents a 3.5% increase over the previous year.
Part of the reason for the slowdown, according to Armstrong, is that the acquisition craze died down somewhat, although in the past year FedEx did finally acquire TNT Express.
Armstrong's research reveals that 90% of domestic FORTUNE 500 companies use at least one 3PL; that represents a significant gain over the past 15 years, when only 46% of the companies had a relationship with a 3PL, so the number has almost doubled since the turn of the century. This points to an ongoing trend, Armstrong notes, "for companies to outsource logistics functions to 3PLs in order to control costs and increase supply chain efficiency." In fact, the larger a company is, the more likely it is that it will have at least one 3PL contract. The service most frequently outsourced to a 3PL is transportation management (24%), followed by warehouse management (19%).