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CEO perspectives on the current status and future prospects of the third-party logistics industry in the United States

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This article provides information gathered in a survey of the CEOs of the 25 largest third-party logistics companies operating in the US. Their industry is relatively new, with more than half of their companies having initiated operations since 1984. Most of their companies are subsidiaries of large transportation or warehousing enterprises. These service providers are becoming increasingly international, with nearly all of them having expanded their operations outside the US.

As the industry continues to evolve, the large providers are increasingly turning to alliances with other companies as a means of broadening their services offerings. Transportation services, warehousing, and value-added services are the industry's most significant revenue generators.

The net investment, employment base, and customer base of these companies vary considerably. All of the survey respondents reported annual revenues in excess of $50 million, with one exceeding $1 billion. Many of the companies have attempted to niche themselves in particular industries, and, to date, they have primary focused their sales efforts on large corporations.

The industry continues to grow rapidly, with more than two-thirds of the CEOs projecting one and three year company growth rates in excess of 20 percent. According to the CEOs, the most important industrial dynamics affecting the industry are increased interest in outsourcing logistics activities, greater interest in one-stop shopping, and increased CEO/CFO participation in considering the third-party option.


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