Fleet Management

Survey Finds 3PL CEOs Confident About Future Growth in the Industry

September 23, 2014

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The chief executives of third-party logistics providers are confident about the current state and future revenue growth of their companies and regional 3PL industries, according to an annual survey.

The annual survey included the CEOs of the 27 largest 3PLs in the North American, European and Asian Pacific regions. Tt found that 75% of the companies involved were profitable in 2013, generating approximately $46 billion in revenue combined. 

North American CEOs forecast a three-year company growth of 10.77% and Asian-Pacific CEOs forecast growth of 16.2%.

The survey also asked the executives to project regional 3PL industry revenue growth rates for the next three years in all three regions. North American CEOs projected average growth rates of 6.54%, European CEOs projected 4.17% and Asian-Pacific CEOs projected 10.4%.

The survey was published in a report that found several industry-wide shifts, including a near-shoring trend that was growing in North America as 3PL customers moved manufacturing from China to Mexico due to rising wages. As a result, a third of North American companies reported increased volume and revenue.

The annual survey was sponsored and underwritten by Penske Logistics and was authored by Robert Lieb a professor of supply chain management at Northwestern University and Joe Carlier, senior vice president of sales at Penske.

“Companies will look to 3PLs to optimize their services from warehousing to cross-border shipping in Mexico,” said Carlier. “Those that have in-market experience navigating the nuances and complexities of the region will reap the most benefits.”

Interestingly, five of the eight European CEOs surveyed were from Russia, and while they cited growing opportunities for their companies in the healthcare and retail industries, political turmoil in the region could limit investment and growth.

E-Commerce grew substantially in all three regions over the past year, which the CEOs surveyed felt would lead to long-term growth potential and new opportunities for 3PLs. However, Amazon is such a large player in e-commerce that while the company is a customer of some 3PLs, many CEOs suggested that it might become a significant competitor because of the logistics infrastructure the company has built.

“The e-commerce marketplace is very competitive, and companies such as Amazon have also moved aggressively in providing logistics services for companies selling their products online,” Lieb said.

The report was co-authored by Kristin Lieb, a professor of marketing communications at Emerson College. 

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