Take a Look at the Top Logistics Companies in 2018

Which of the Top Logistics Providers Are Right for You?

Crane lifter handling container box loading to truck
••• Getty Images/Prasit photo

Logistics providers can have a regional or industry-specific specialization or have a global reach. When your company needs to choose a logistics partner, what criteria should you use to help you decide?

Like many industries, logistics providers (or 3PL's—i.e. third party logistics providers) have undergone consolidation over recent years. While that consolidation may have taken some of the competition out of the marketplace, it has also given 3PL's not just a broad, global reach—but also the specialization in multiple functional areas within logistics.

Because of that, many 3PL's are now a one-stop shop for freight forwarding, carriage, customs, warehouse and fulfillment needs.

There are many ways to break down how to rank logistics companies. Here are five of the top logistics companies and why they may or may not suit your logistics and supply chain needs.

FedEx

FedEx Supply Chain Solutions isn't just that van that rolls up to your house or company's loading dock. FedEx Supply Chain Solutions is a $3 billion globally integrated supply chain solutions provider.

While all of the top logistics companies on this list have global reach, the advantage of choosing FedEx is is that you likely already have a FedEx account number. Your local FedEx account rep can easily help you roll that account number into their global supply chain solutions.

With FedEx Supply Chain Solutions, you can have a logistics organization that you're familiar with pick up your shipment at your supplier and then manage that delivery through every logistics, customs, warehousing and even customer fulfillment step.

FedEx can also provide value add services within their warehouse—such as repackaging and assembly. FedEx is a one-stop logistics shop with a global reputation for customer delivery.

UPS

UPS Supply Chain Solutions is another integrated global supply chain solutions provider. While their annual revenue pushes toward $7 billion and their brown vans are globally ubiquitous, you may not realize the extent of their offerings as a logistics provider.

Early in the supply chain consolidation era, UPS was quick to realize that outsourcing supply chain was a way to drive a competitive advantage and not just be a cost center. 

Like FedEx, you probably already have a UPS account. But are you optimizing UPS' capabilities to provide end-to-end supply chain services? UPS can:

  • Pickup a package at your supplier
  • Consolidate it with other packages
  • Ship it across the world
  • Route it through customs
  • Warehouse and maintain inventory control to it
  • Perform value add (re-packaging, for example)
  • Fulfill customer orders

Expeditors

Expeditors could very well be the $6 billion global logistics provider that you've never heard of. While Expeditors may not provide the direct-to-consumer fulfillment of a UPS or a FedEX, they do specialize in a very valuable area of global logistics: Foreign Trade Zones.

If your company manufactures in low cost manufacturing countries, Expeditors can help you optimize the customs provisions within Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ). An FTZ can allow you to harness the low cost features of the local economy, while reducing certain logistics and customs costs.

Expeditors is also a world leader in logistics, warehousing and inventory management—but if you're interested in learning more about FTZ, they might be the direction to look.

C.H. Robinson

C.H. Robinson offers their hundred-plus year history and their $13 billion a year revenue as resources that allow a global reach combined with local warehousing.

Because of C.H. Robinson's size and experience, they likely have a warehouse near you. With that advantage, they can provide global logistics services while making it easy to visit your inventory. C.H. Robinson bills itself as the "original 3PL" and because of their longevity and innovation, it's easy to see why. 

DHL Supply Chain and Global Forwarding

At over $26 billion a year, DHL Supply Chain and Global Forwarding ranks as one of the world's largest logistics providers. And while they have all but disappeared off the residential streets of the U.S., they are one of the go-to logistics providers in the rest of the world.

If your company ships, warehouses or otherwise transacts or moves inventory outside the U.S., you need to give DHL a look. Their expertise and reach in international logistics is unmatched. 

Remember, your 3PL partner is exactly that—a partner. The goal of our optimized supply chain is to deliver what your customers want, when your customers want it—and do that by spending as little money as possible. Partnering with the right logistics company will help you achieve that goal.