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What is a 3PL? (Third-Party Logistics Provider)

What is Third-Party Logistics?

A 3PL provider specializes in bridging the gap between carriers and shippers to assist in supply chain management. A 3PL manages your logistical needs, from choosing quality carriers, to getting loads to their destination as efficiently as possible. This helps you in your supply chain initiatives and assists in accomplishing your business goals. Typically, 3PLs have relationships with thousands of carriers. Using a 3PL network, you’ll be able to minimize overhead costs and avoid the infrastructure investments that comes with growing your business.

What are the benefits of using a 3PL?

Cost savings:

    • The improved efficiency of using a 3PL will save money. There are expensive errors that a business can make and a 3PL can help negotiate better rates with carriers.


    • 3PLs have the expertise regarding issues such as customs and international compliance, seasonal shipping patterns, and other industry issues that are up-to-date and accurate. Also, they have the knowledge about best practices within the industry. This helps make goods ship seamlessly.

Network of Resources:

    • 3PLs have built a vast network of resources to help customers get connected with carriers and maximize efficiency.

Customer Satisfaction:

    • Pick-ups and drop-offs are managed by the 3PL. This reduces the likelihood of schedule hiccups and chargebacks from customers. With GPS and RFID technology, more visibility is possible within load transportation.

What is the difference between a 3PL and a 4PL?

A 3PL is a direct link between the seller and the customer. 4PLs may outsource their services to one or more 3PLs which drives up cost. There are also 2PLs and 5PLS.

A full-service Third-Party Logistics Provider may specialize in specific modes of transportation such as LTL, temperature controlled, flatbed, intermodal, international, expedited modes, and full truckload. Others may also focus on warehousing and commercial airline shipping. Polaris Logistics Group is a broad based service provider specializing in all modes of transportation.

Looking for a 3PL? Request a Quote from the professionals at Polaris Logistics Group today! Check us out on LinkedIn.