2018 will go down as an outstanding year for third-party logistics (3PL) in the U.S. The two main growth drivers were an extraordinary inventory build as shippers’ imported products to beat the implementation of Trump’s import tariffs and solid domestic economic expansion, according to Armstrong & Associates, which recently released its 2019 ranking of the top 3PLs.
Other factors that worked in favor of this industry include tight domestic carrier capacity which drove up rates, increasing fuel surcharge revenue, and expanding e-commerce business.
Armstrong & Associates Inc. estimates that U.S. 3PL market net revenues (gross revenues less purchased transportation) grew 12.1% to $86.4 billion and overall gross revenues increased 15.8%, bringing the total U.S. 3PL market to $213.5 billion in 2018.
The firm points out that the last time the U.S. saw this level of 3PL gross revenue growth was in 2010 when the 3PL market bounced back 19% from its 16% decline in 2009 during the great recession.