2013 Annual Review & Outlook - Logistics
The cautious optimism third-party logistics providers have held since the 2008-09 recession is gradually becoming less cautious. Although the U.S. and European economies are struggling to find their footing, 3PLs are finding growth opportunities in new markets, especially the emerging markets of Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. To keep up, 3PLs are investing heavily in supply chain technologies while cutting costs by turning to evolving solutions in the cloud. And, even as some international and domestic markets struggle, 3PLs have thrived as cost-conscious shippers and transportation providers look to cut costs through outsourcing. That has boosted profits, making 3PLs attractive takeover targets. The result is a merger-and-acquisition market that has been more active than the industry has seen in years.
More than 12 years have passed since INTTRA delivered a shipping portal that made multicarrier electronic shipping available to shippers around the world. Other solutions have also emerged, yet many ocean shippers still choose to ship manually by calling, e-mailing and even faxing carriers.