3PL Segment Growing 2-3 Times Faster Than GDP

The third-party logistics industry has been growing two to three times faster than GDP, totaling about $157 billion per year, according to Robert Voltmann, president and CEO of the Transportation Intermediaries Association.

During a session Sept. 26 at the TMW/PeopleNet In.Sight user conference in Nashville, Tenn., Voltmann put that growth into perspective saying the 3PL industry was now 1.5 times the size of the beer industry.

Quoting data from DAT, Voltmann said 48% of all large shippers use two to three 3PLs and that 38% use six or more. Furthermore, he noted that 28% of carriers rely on 3PLs as their primary source of freight and that 28% of LTL freight is handled by 3PLs.

Talking about trends within the industry, he said that same-day and next-day delivery are becoming the norm with consumers. More than 87% of the U.S. has internet access and online shopping continues to grow with 66% of consumers expecting next-day delivery for an order placed before 5 p.m. Sixty percent want same-day delivery on orders placed by noon.

Furthermore, Voltmann said that 33% of consumers make their shipping selection based on speed/price of delivery and 28% expect to be able to re-route a delivery. As a result of these consumer expectations, he said recent figures showed that fulfillment costs for Amazon had increased 55% since 2011 with last-mile shipment accounting for 30% of total shipping costs.

On the regulatory front, Voltmann said the upcoming ELD mandate would create some capacity constraints, but he did not think this crunch would be “Armageddon-like.”

Economically, he cited recent number showing the economy growing at a moderate pace and said low energy costs in the U.S. in relation to other countries would benefit U.S. manufacturing, which will in turn benefit trucking.