The 50 largest transportation and third-party logistics operators worldwide increased revenue 8.4 percent in 2011 to $650.6 billion, an increase powered largely by 3PLs embedded in global supply chains.
Logistics providers accounted for the largest share of that revenue, $232 billion, and were the largest group on The Journal of Commerce’s list of Top 50 Global Transportation and Logistics Companies, provided by research firm SJ Consulting Group.
This is the first time SJ Consulting Group and The Journal of Commerce have published the Top 50 list, which ranks transportation and logistics operators from five continents by revenue and includes information on their growth and segment.
The largest company on the list, Germany’s DHL with $55.7 billion in revenue, is an express parcel carrier but now derives most of its revenue from logistics, Pittsburgh-based SJ Consulting said. UPS, with $53.1 billion in revenue, ranked No. 2, followed by FedEx, with $41.3 billion.
There were 20 third-party logistics companies on the Top 50 list, accounting for 40 percent of the total group and 36 percent of the group’s revenue. Three logistics companies were among the 10 largest firms — DHL, fifth-ranked DB Schenker of Germany with $27.5 billion in revenue, and No. 7 Kuehne + Nagel of Switzerland, with $22.1 billion.
The predominance of 3PLs and asset-based transportation providers with logistics services among the Top 50 companies underscores just how integrated logistics providers and their carrier partners and shipper customers have become as shippers increasingly rely on 3PLs for multimodal technology and carrier connections.
The Top 50 list is dominated by companies based within the borders of the global economic powers. The U.S., with 12, is home to the most companies on the list, and most of the revenue for these companies is generated by domestic moves.
Japan, with its large global presence, has the second-largest representation with seven companies on the list. Germany and France, the world’s fourth- and fifth-largest economies, each account for six companies. China, the second-largest country in terms of GDP, is home to four companies on the list and stands out among the other BRIC countries as the only major emerging market with transportation companies large enough to be ranked in the top 50.
Overall, 3PLs were the fastest-growing segment on the Top 50 list, with a 6.8 percent compound annual growth rate since 2006. The list as a whole has increased revenue at a 5.8 percent CAGR since that year, according to SJ Consulting.
Ocean container lines, led by Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk with $37.9 billion in revenue, were the second-largest group on the list, with 15 companies and $192 million in revenue. Three ocean carriers made the top 10: A.P. Moller, whose Maersk Line is the world’s largest shipping line; Switzerland’s Mediterranean Shipping Co., which ranked sixth with $22.1 billion in revenue; and Japan’s NYK Group, ranked eighth on the list with $21.7 billion in revenue in 2011.
Led by UPS, parcel carriers were the third-largest group on the list, with $136 billion in sales. In addition to UPS and FedEx, they included Japan’s $13.7 billion Yamato Holdings and $10.3 billion Sagawa, the Netherlands’ $10.3 billion TNT and France’s $7.2 billion DPD/Geopost, which grew 12.8 percent in 2011.
Six North American railroads with $76 billion in revenue made the list, led by $19.6 billion Union Pacific and $19.5 billion Burlington Northern Santa Fe, both among the 10 largest companies. The others were CSX, $11.7 billion; Norfolk Southern, $11.2 billion; Canadian National, $9.1 billion; and Canadian Pacific, $5.2 billion.
The Top 50 include three trucking companies with $15 billion in combined revenue, led by Con-way, a trucking and logistics operator with $5.3 billion in revenue. The next largest was YRC Worldwide with $4.9 billion in revenue and J.B. Hunt Transport Services, with $4.5 billion.
In 2012, Top 50 revenue growth is slowing as the stagnant global economy, Europe’s financial crisis and slower growth in emerging markets hurt freight demand, SJ Consulting analyst Michael D. Scheid said. That economic weakness is likely to result in lower revenue growth for the Top 50 and greater pressure on their profit margins in 2013.