7+ Best 3PL Companies of 2021 (Ranked and Reviewed)
3PL companies, also known as third-party logistics companies, are service providers that ecommerce merchants use to outsource and fulfill their shipping and logistics.
Selling products online takes a lot of hard work, discipline, financial acumen, and marketing power.
By hiring a 3PL company, online store owners can outsource shipping and order fulfillment so that they can focus on running their business.
So who do you pick?
If you're looking for the absolute best 3PL company, this guide ranks and reviews the best options based on price, service, shipping capabilities, their distribution network, and more.
Let's get to the list.
What Are the Best 3PL Companies?
Here are my top picks for the best 3PL companies.
Best overall 3PL company (Quote-based).
ShipBob is a tech-enabled 3PL company that helps fulfill ecommerce orders for direct-to-consumer brands.
The company provides connected technology and fulfillment services and warehouses near your target customers. This improves transit times, shipping costs, and the overall delivery experience.
ShipBob also works through Google and their merchant center to integrate Shopping ads with Google’s Free and Fast Shipping Label. It enables you to showcase the shipping speed of each business at the point of discovery. Plus, it helps you connect to an online store, import products, and ship them to the customers.
The fulfillment platform works in three steps:
- First, connect your store to ShipBob and send your inventory.
- Next, the company would store your inventory in its fulfillment centers.
- Finally, ShipBob ship the order from the nearest fulfillment store as soon as a customer places an order.
Additionally, the software acts as your web-based office and helps you manage your shipment process from a single dashboard. You can control and edit orders, track real-time stock levels, get automatic notifications to reorder the required inventory, etc.
3PL services by ShipBob include:
- Standard Packing
- Extensive Fulfillment-Centre Network – ShipBob helps you determine optimal inventory placement across the expanding fulfillment network to enhance delivery speed and reduce shipping costs. It also enables you to distribute inventory into more warehouses.
- Ecommerce Fulfillment Software – Its web-based software works like your back office for logistics.
- Distributed Inventory – You can leverage its network of fulfillment centers to split the inventory across multiple locations for cheaper and quicker deliveries.
- It offers 2-day express shipping.
- It can ship orders to over 220 countries and regions.
- Use its built-in analytics and reports to make data-driven decisions across the supply chain.
- It provides integration with third-party apps like Wix, BigCommerce, Shopify, Squarespace, etc.
- ShipBob provides a developer-friendly REST API.
- The tool sends orders automatically to the concerned warehouses.
- You can search orders, filter them by status, and take a quick timeline view of your order.
ShipBob offers customized quotes based on your requirements. There are separate costs for other services like storage, pick and pack, receiving, etc.
Get started with a free quote from ShipBob.
Best for supply chain consulting and assistance (Quote-based).
FedEx is an American multinational delivery services company and a third-party logistics provider. It offers 3PL services in multiple industries, including healthcare, retail, industrial, consumer goods, technology, and electronics.
Plus, it helps you grow your ecommerce business through its integrated approach to distribution, packaging, fulfillment, returns, and more.
FedEx also helps maximize the control and visibility of the supply chain with warehouse management systems and automation.
You also receive services like:
- Network optimization
- Warehouse location analysis
- Identify the best shipping mode
- Holistic supply chain analysis
- Supply chain engineering and design
- Shipment consolidation
It also helps in reducing employee turnover and offers traditional resources and space according to market demands.
FedEx also assists in warehouse operations and distribution as well. It provides dedicated or shared warehouse space, warehouse staffing management, complete warehouse and distribution center management, etc.
Additionally, the company helps you design and print manuals, flyers, brochures, holiday cards, postcards, custom boxes, and more. Besides, you can get your business logo printed on customized delivery boxes.
3PL Services by FedEx:
- Warehouse Management
- Order Fulfillment
- Reverse Logistics
- FedEx® Transportation Management – It helps free up resources and time and reduces capacity shortage to meet business goals.
- Ecommerce Integrations – Optimize ecommerce store along with a multi-channel strategy through the integration of returns and distribution centers. It improves your overall order fulfillment network.
- Supply Chain Consulting – Get assistance from FedEx experts for an impartial evaluation of business and chalk out a growth plan.
- Enhance customer experience with customized packaging.
- It offers a return option to your customers while maintaining profitability.
- Outsource facility management services to focus on core areas of your business.
- Use its unsaleable research feature to identify and fix problems with products.
- Real-time location-tracking to gain a transparent view of operations.
You have to get in touch with the vendor for the pricing quote. You can also calculate the approximate shipment cost with their calculator.
3. DHL Supply Chain.
Best for environment-friendly transportation solutions (Quote-based).
DHL is a division of Deutsche Post DHL and helps you with supply chain management & third-party logistics. DHL offers services in multiple sectors, including consumer, technology, retail, healthcare, life sciences, auto-mobility, and more.
It collates all necessary services, including transport, warehousing, and management, together in a completely optimized package. It further helps you streamline global logistics services, supplier oversight, and assists with customer touchpoint management.
There are various warehouse services, including storage and pick & pack, kitting, packaging, click & collect or direct delivery, etc.
Other prominent services include:
- DHL Inbound to Manufacturing (supplier management, inventory optimization, etc.).
- DHL Service Logistics (on-site and return-to-base repairs, spare parts delivery, and exchange logistics and field engineer support).
- DHL Indirect Materials Management (Inventory management, production uptime availability, critical spares & risk mitigation, etc.).
- DHL Envirosolutions (Recycling and waste management, legislative compliance, producer responsibility, etc.).
- DHL Passenger Gateway Services (procurement, inbound handling, storage, and more).
- DHL HealthConnect (customer service support, real-time order, shipment tracking with proof of delivery, etc.).
Plus, DHL’s project management approach ensures smoother implementation and addresses risks during the shipping process. It follows a proprietary project management methodology, DePICT®, for desired business results.
Another plus point is that it continually reviews, evaluates, and adopts the latest technological solutions. Currently, DHL leverages technologies like augmented reality (AR) to optimize warehouse processes. They’re also testing a wide range of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and robots for future deployment.
3PL Services by DHL Supply Chain:
- Freight Security
- Freight Management
- Green Transportation Solutions
- Air, Road, Sea Shipments
- Supply Chain Management
- DHL Fulfillment – It offers multiple B2C and B2B warehousing solutions along with logistics management.
- DHL Materials Management – It offers data related to production uptime availability, risk mitigation, critical spares, supply chain control/planning, and more.
- Transport Solutions – You get transportation for finished and raw products, international and domestic distribution, temperature assured transportation, etc. The platform also offers a transport management system to help you handle everything from a web-based dashboard.
- It offers analytics and data management of your entire shipping process.
- Freight optimization and real-time visibility of shipments.
- Development and re-engineering of the supply chain.
- Benchmarking and health checkups of the supply chain.
- Classification, evaluation, and prioritization of inquiries.
You have to get in touch with the vendor for personalized cost. DHL also provides a shipping cost calculator.
4. C.H. Robinson.
Best for shipping via railway networks (Quote-based)
C.H. Robinson is a 3PL company that offers a full suite of logistics services and tools, including supply chain management solutions. The third-party logistics company provides a combination of multi-modal transportation management systems and expertise.
They also provide an extensive transportation network across North America to meet your truckload needs. Plus, you can leverage its less than truckload (LTL) services to deliver frequent and smaller shipments easily.
The integration of customized solutions for ocean freight also helps you ship your products via sea. It also offers 15 large-scale air gateways across six global regions to deliver shipments through the air at a faster pace. Besides, it provides specialized services like last mile delivery, project logistics, consulting, and more.
3PL Services by C.H. Robinson:
- Ocean Shipping
- Rail Shipping
- Air Freight
- Customs Brokerage
- Supply Chain Consulting
- Customs – Easily comply with customs clearance changes, identify issues, and eliminate risks with advisors and policy experts.
- Intermodal – Incorporate rail shipping into the supply chain to diversify your shipping solutions.
- TMS Technology – It offers global TMS technology and managed services by TMC – which is a subsidiary of C.H. Robinson.
- Send unplanned freight at short notice with larger space.
- It offers multiple logistics solutions, including ocean, air, trade compliance, customs brokerage, and surface transportation.
- C.H. Robinson comes with one of the largest Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) globally.
- They combine consolidation, LTL, and small parcel in single shipping service.
- You get custom trade compliance and brokerage services.
C.H. Robinson offers quote-based pricing.
Best for reverse logistics and spare parts delivery (Quote-based).
Ryder 3PL offers an end-to-end supply chain network and serves over 20 industries globally, and operates in all parts of North America. Its logistics has over 55 million square feet of warehouse space managed across the USA, Mexico, and Canada.
Its logistics management includes vehicle maintenance, transportation logistics management, and carriers. You can also leverage Ryder’s warehouse and distribution management, just-in-time lineside delivery, freight bill audit & payment, and returns.
The 3PL company also offers end-to-end services like inbound logistics and cross-docking, transportation management.
You can also avail of outbound delivery to retail stores, distribution centers, and directly to the consumer. Outbound logistics also include features like cross-docking, just-in-time delivery, multiple freight lanes, and shipment execution.
3PL Services by Ryder:
- Supply Chain Management
- Warehousing and Distribution
- Smart Warehousing
- Last-Mile Delivery
- Cross-border Delivery
- Carrier Portfolio Management
- Freight bill audit & payment
- Just-in-time lineside delivery
- Transportation Management
- Reverse Logistics – It provides a full suite of reverse logistics services to help you move the supply chain forward and improve return management. They claim to deliver returns of up to 5% on sales.
- Aftermarket Logistics – Aftermarket logistics helps in lowering costs and reducing customer downtime. It manages inventory and SKU count to meet engineering repair processes, high service requirements and implements packing, bundling, and kitting.
- Inbound and Outbound Logistics – Its inbound logistics solutions are available via rail, port, or through over 26,000 border crossings. Outbound logistics come with cross-docking capabilities, access to multiple freight lanes, just-in-time delivery, and shipment execution.
- It offers a common carrier base of over 3,100 qualified carriers.
- Achieve full visibility through return material authorization (RMA) tracking and verification.
- They provide insight into manufacturing costs, lead times, product availability information for suppliers.
- You also get access to demand forecasts and shipping & logistics estimates.
- It offers a pool of over 9,500 dedicated drivers.
Customized pricing based on your requirements and the company’s annual sales revenue.
6. Burris Logistics.
Best for temperature-controlled shipment and warehousing (Quote-based).
Burris Logistics is a third-party logistics(3PL) company that provides facilities for cold storage, custom distribution, direct-to-consumer fulfillment, and more.
It also provides solutions like temperature-controlled warehousing, managed services, dedicated fleets, truckloads, intermodal, and more.
Their logistics has over 70,000 authorized carriers that support transport modes like truckloads, LTS, intermodal, International, Drayage, and more. Buttis Logistics also helps with the transportation of fresh produce, chemicals, building materials, plastic, rubber, machinery, industrial supply, equipment, etc.
Burris’ PRW Plus service also carries out temperature-controlled warehousing – with temperatures ranging from -20 to 58-degree celsius.
Their integration with Honor Food helps you ship grocery, frozen food, and dairy foods in 14 states of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast state of the USA.
You also get special Burris Specs Freightliner service. It reduces cost and shipment safety with the latest technology like WABCO OnGuard, Thermoking temperature monitoring, and Lytx drive cam.
3PL Services by Burris Logistics:
- Dedicated Fleet
- Direct-to-Consumer delivery
- Facility Design
- Freight Management
- Logistics Technology
- Procurement & Redistribution
- Temperature Controlled Warehousing
- Trinity Logistics – Trinity Logistics is Burris’ freight management brand that provides services like less than truckload, warehousing, truckload, etc.
- Custom Dedicated Distribution – You can collaborate with their team and gain full control over the procurement process. You also get control over product selection, deal negotiation, and vendor relations.
- Facility Design – This service by Burris includes food and industrial safety, consideration of temperature zone conversions, racking plans, and material handling equipment.
- Burris Logistics provides distribution and warehousing service for all temperature requirements.
- Online reporting to help you keep track of the logistics and shipping process.
- Facility management.
- Get automatic notifications regarding the order and delivery status.
- Private label food delivery.
Contact the vendor for customized pricing plans.
7. DSV Global.
Best for diverse delivery options like delivery to the hospital and next-day delivery (Quote-based).
DSV Global is a transport and logistics company that globally offers transport services by air, road, sea, and train. They operate in over 80 countries worldwide and have about 1,400 offices and logistic facilities.
You get services for various industries like automotive, healthcare, chemicals, perishables, industrial, retail, fashion, and more. They also ship biopharma and pharmaceutical products like drugs, OTC products, vaccines, clinical trial material, etc. You can even use DSV Global for energy logistics like oil, gas, renewable energy, mining, metals, nuclear, and more.
Common modes of transport include air freight, sea freight, road transport, rail freight, and courier service. All these multimodal transport options are temperature controlled. You can also opt for special delivery options like next day delivery, direct delivery to the hospital, and more.
Additionally, their QHSE quality assurance system ensures that all your shipments get delivered safely without any harm. Their warehousing and cross-dock also meet regulations and requirements like HACCP, AIB, ISO, GDP, and more.
3PL Services by DSV Global:
- Order fulfillment
- Logistics solutions
- Supply chain innovations
- Intermodal transport options
- Air, sea, and rail shipments
- Inventory Scan – It helps in increasing inbound cost efficiency, enhance stock rotation, and optimize availability.
- Multi-Channel Fulfillment – It offers multichannel services in multiple locations, including the Netherlands, near the Port of Rotterdam.
- Labeling – You can get your packaging labeled before shipment with your brand’s barcodes and logos. You can even get your customers’ information added to the shipment boxes.
- It offers product reconfiguration, repair, and return tasks.
- GDP approved warehousing for pharmaceuticals.
- Proper testing of products based on the company’s guidelines.
- DSV Global offers to repackage products based on your business’ needs.
- Configure electronics and hardware as per customer requirements.
- Customs clearance and broker services.
Best for shipping high-value and high-touch products (Quote-based).
Expeditors is a logistics and freight forwarding company which operates in 357 locations in over 60 countries on six continents. They have 40 ocean freight carriers that ensure global coverage.
You can measure KPIs and numerous metrics to get an idea of how they operate every step of the way. You can also track your shipment with your shipment tracking number.
Expeditors also ships high value and high touch products with proper protection with its special white glove shipment.
Temperature-controlled delivery options also help you deliver all types of products at any location. They regularly monitor temperatures to make sure that your product remains within the safe temperature limit. This feature mainly helps in delivering frozen, chilled products.
The 3PL company provides rail and intermodal service for domestic and cross border areas. It also combines air and sea shipping services to reduce delivery time by up to 50 percent. Not only this, but this feature also helps you reduce overall delivery costs.
Additionally, project and energy service provides transportation solutions for mining facilities, infrastructure projects, aircraft manufacturers, renewable energy, pharmaceutical power generation, petrochemicals, etc.
3PL Services by Expeditors include:
- Order & Risk Management
- Warehousing & Distribution
- Transportation via air, ocean, and road
- Customs Brokerage
- Trade Consulting
- Data & Analytics – Expeditors provide built-in analytics tools that provide all the information from the point of order to the final delivery. You can analyze this data to make informed business decisions.
- Living Model – Living Model is a ‘twin model’ of your supply chain that helps you make decisions based on current conditions. It also helps you measure performance, adapt to changing market conditions, and to exploit potential opportunities.
- LCL (less than a container load) Solutions – Expeditors has 300 fixed weekly schedules and 40,000 individual lanes – which helps you deliver products that require less than a container load.
- Helicopter deliveries and AOG (aircraft on ground) support.
- Expeditors provide same-day delivery options without any size and weight restrictions.
- Freight and bulk shipping.
- The 3PL company offers additional services like labeling & packaging and picking & packing.
- Present in over 300 locations globally.
Get in touch with the vendor for a customized cost.
9. DB Schenker.
Best for GPS tracking in real-time and online monitoring (Quote-based).
DB Schenker is an air, land, sea freight logistics company and is a division of German rail operator Deutsche Bahn AG. They boast of acclaimed customers like Apple, Dell, BMW, ASML, Procter & Gamble, and more.
Plus, the company has 430 land transportations branches across Europe’s 38 countries and provides door-to-door shipping service across Europe. They also serve in about 700 locations in 130 countries around the world with their air freight network.
You get services for land transport, air freight, ocean freight, contract logistics, lead logistics, and special products.
Its tracking tools offer real-time information about the estimated delivery time, shipment status, and current location. You can use the tracking number for every order to gain access to all the shipment data without even logging in to the portal.
Additional features include a detailed cargo overview, 24/7 GPS tracking in real-time, and online temperature and humidity monitoring.
3PL Services by DB Schenker:
- Air & Ocean Freight
- Land Transport
- Production & Fulfillment Logistics
- Lead Logistics
- Part and Full Loads (FTL) – It offers door-to-door shipping of products across Europe with its seamlessly connected land terminals.
- Intercontinental Supply Chain Solutions (ISC) – DB Schenker offers end-to-end visibility on several levels and enables inventory reduction for international deliveries.
- Contract Logistics – Contract logistics solutions offer production logistics, fulfillment logistics, ecommerce logistics, service and aftermarket logistics, etc.
- Customized reports and statistics.
- Consulting and business case studies.
- Temperature and humidity monitoring.
- Its logistic solution eSchenker brings all eServices under one umbrella for maximum support at all supply chain stages.
- It offers time-definite Air Freight services.
3PL companies are third-party logistics companies that offer various services related to the ecommerce supply chain.
Ecommerce businesses leverage 3PL companies to save time, improve operational efficiencies, reduce costs, and expand shipping capabilities.
3PL services are generally scalable and flexible, depending upon a business's individual requirements. That means you can leverage 3PL companies when required or as a permanent solution.
Overall, you use 3PL companies to ship your products both locally and globally at cost-efficient prices.
Here are a few key features that you should seek when vetting your 3PL provider.
- Flexibility – You should be able to increase and decrease the logistics requirements in real-time according to your market conditions. This feature also helps with better cost optimization.
- Reverse Logistics – It should offer reverse logistics to manage the return and exchange of products efficiently.
- Customs – The 3PL company should offer strong compliance and solutions for customs to ensure the seamless delivery of cross-border orders.
- Multiple Transport Solution – Leverage multiple transport solutions, including road, ocean, and air, to optimize costs and ensure on-time delivery of shipments.
- Ecommerce Fulfillment – This is a must-have feature if you are running an ecommerce business. It will help you deliver your small shipments timely and cost-efficiently.
- Tracking and Analytics – Extensive reporting and analytics of shipments will help you make data-driven business decisions.
Make sure to consider these essential features as the foundation of an efficient 3PL company.
That ends my list of the best 3PL companies to try this year.
Whatever ecommerce products you're shipping – whether it be electronics, fashion items, or products large and small, hiring a 3PL company is something to consider.
These companies pack your orders and ship them safely to your customers so that you can focus on running and marketing your business. However, it’s essential to choose a reliable 3PL company if you want to offer a superior customer experience and retain your customers.
You might also have different requirements based on your products. For example, if you want environmental transportation solutions, opt for DHL Supply Chain. For feasible returns and exchanges and spare parts delivery, Ryder is a good choice.
Overall, my top pick is ShipBob due to its extensive fulfillment services, excellent customer support, and logistics capabilities.
Some of their other great features include integration with Google merchant center, 2-day express shipping, built-in analytics and reports, the ability to overview your order, and more.
Ultimately, make sure to review each company carefully to choose one that aligns with your business.
Which one of these 3PL companies are you planning to use, and why? Let me know in the comments below.