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A third-party logistics provider (3PL) is a firm that provides outsourced logistics services to client companies for part, or all of their supply chain management functions. A 3PL provider offers outsourced logistics services, which encompass anything that involves management of one or more facets of procurement and fulfillment activities. In business, 3PL has a broad meaning that applies to any service contract that involves storing or shipping items. A 3PL service may be a single provider, such as transportation or warehouse storage, or it can be a system-wide bundle of services capable of handling supply chain management.


Corporations are now looking to outsource to a single partner who will assess, design, build, run and measure integrated comprehensive supply chain solutions on their behalf. This evolution in supply chain outsourcing is Fourth-party Logistics or 4PL.

A 4PL provider is a supply chain integrator. The 4PL assembles and manages all resources, capabilities and technology of an organization’s supply chain and its array of providers.


A non-asset business that facilitates time-critical, high-value or high-security shipments, usually on very short notice. Revenue is either contractual or transactional, primarily driven by unforeseen supply chain disruptions or just-in-time inventory demand for raw materials, parts or goods. Transplace provides three types of expedite service: ground transportation via a network of independent contract carriers; air charter transportation facilitated by proprietary, web-based technology that solicits bids and assigns loads to aircraft; and a managed transportation network that is the largest web-based expedite management technology in North America.


A variable cost business that facilitates the trucking of freight by procuring carriers using proprietary technology. Freight brokerage net revenue is the spread between the price to the shipper and the cost of purchased transportation. In North America, Transplace has a non-asset freight brokerage business, with a network of tens of thousands of independent carriers.


A non-asset business that facilitates freight shipments by ground, air and ocean. Shipments may have origins and destinations within North America, to or from North America, or between foreign locations. Services are provided through a network of market experts who provide local oversight in thousands of key trade areas worldwide. Transplace’s global forwarding service can arrange shipments with no restrictions as to size, weight or mode.


An asset-light business that facilitates the movement of long-haul, containerized freight by rail, often with a drayage (trucking) component at either end. Intermodal is a variable cost business, with revenue generated by a mix of contractual and spot market transactions. Net revenue equates to the spread between the price to the shipper and the cost of purchasing rail and truck transportation. Two factors are driving growth in intermodal in North America: rail transportation is less expensive and more fuel efficient per mile than long-haul trucking, and rail is a key mode of transportation in and out of Mexico, where the manufacturing base is booming due to a trend toward near-shoring.


A non-asset business that facilitates the delivery of goods to their destination, most often to consumer households. Transplace specializes in two areas of last mile service: arranging the delivery and installation of heavy goods such as appliances, furniture and electronics, often with a white glove component; and providing logistics solutions to retailers and distributors to support their e-commerce supply chains and omni-channel distribution strategies. Capacity is sourced from a network of independent contract carriers and technicians.


The transportation of a quantity of freight that is larger than a parcel, but too small to require an entire truck, and is often shipped on a pallet. LTL shipments are priced according to the weight of the freight, its commodity class (which is generally determined by its cube/weight ratio and the description of the product), and mileage within designated lanes. An LTL carrier typically operates a hub-and-spoke network that allows for the consolidation of multiple shipments for different customers in single trucks.


The ground transportation of cargo provided by a single shipper in an amount that requires the full limit of the trailer, either by dimensional or weight. Cargo typically remains on a single vehicle from the point of origin to the destination, and is not handled en route. See Capacity Solutions for additional details.


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