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With so many different 3PL companies available, figuring out which is right for you is tough. You know you want to outsource a range of functions including transportation, warehousing, picking and packing, inventory forecasting, order fulfillment, packaging, and freight forwarding—but now need to figure out which solution is best. I've got you! In this post, I'll help make your choice easy, sharing my personal experiences using dozens of different 3PL providers with online stores of all sizes, with my picks of the best 3PL companies overall.

What Is A 3PL Company?

A 3PL (Third-Party Logistics) company is a specialized service provider that manages various aspects of logistics and supply chain operations for other businesses. These companies handle tasks such as warehousing, transportation, order fulfillment, and inventory management. By outsourcing these functions to a 3PL, businesses can focus on their core competencies, like product development and marketing, while leveraging the expertise and resources of the 3PL for efficient logistics management.

Overviews Of The 10 Best 3PL Software

To help with your search, I put together these overviews of the best 3PL Software. Following these highlights will save you time, money, and stress during this process.

Best for fast global fulfillment

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Rating: 3.6/5

ShipBob is a fulfillment service provider that offers a range of logistics solutions for e-commerce businesses. 

Why I picked ShipBob: ShipBob provides a of fulfillment services that address various aspects of the e-commerce supply chain. These services include receiving and storing inventory, picking and packing orders, negotiating shipping rates, and managing expedited and standard deliveries. The company's distributed inventory capabilities also allow for strategic placement of goods across fulfillment centers, which can improve delivery times and reduce shipping costs.

ShipBob Standout Services and Integrations

Standout services include a Warehouse Management System (WMS) for businesses that have their own warehousing facilities but require advanced software to manage operations. ShipBob also offers a Managed Freight Program, which is designed to streamline the process of shipping inventory from manufacturers to ShipBob's fulfillment centers.

Integrations include Shopify, Klaviyo, Recharge, Amazon, BigCommerce, Ebay, Magento, Brightpearl, Yotpo, and Netsuite.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Easy integration with ecommerce platforms
  • 2-day delivery option
  • Fast and accurate order fulfillment

Cons:

  • Limitations for B2B and wholesale orders
  • High shipping costs

Best for reverse logistics

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Ryder Supply Chain Solutions provides reliable reverse logistics capabilities to help ecommerce brands manage returns customers send to their stores.

Why I picked Ryder Supply Chain Solutions: Reverse fulfillment is an essential function for ecommerce businesses because it involves handling products that customers return to your store. So, I added Ryder Supply Chain Solutions because it can efficiently manage this process for your brand. The company provides multiple reverse logistics solutions that help your ecommerce business manage returns and get products back in your warehouse.

Ryder Supply Chain Solutions Standout Services and Integrations

Standout services include customs clearance functions that offer complete visibility into supply chains and compliance with trade regulations. The company also provides fleet management services to help those with private fleets manage them efficiently and enables access to various transportation solutions.

Integrations include connections with top business management systems via the RyderEcommerce platform. Through this system, you can connect Ryder to multiple business applications such as Brightpearl, Corso, Flexport, Gorgias, Klaviyo, Loop, Parcel Perform, Rebuy, Recharge, Returnly, and other software options.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • White-glove product delivery
  • Custom warehousing solutions
  • Sells and rents trucks

Cons:

  • No temperature-controlled shipping
  • Steep learning curve

Best end-to-end freight management

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CEVA Logistics offers an integrated, end-to-end freight management solution for ecommerce businesses. The company’s services allow merchants to get value across every stage of their supply chain.

CEVA Logistics: From inbound supplier management and warehousing to transport and customs services to reverse logistics, CEVA Logistics makes an entry on this list because of its end-to-end ecommerce solutions. CEVA Logistics does everything you need in one centralized location with a global presence to help ecommerce brands of all sizes. Your business can benefit from the company’s transportation networks, warehousing, freight station, and last-mile carrier networks to satisfy your customers.

CEVA Logistics Standout Services

Standout services include fiscal representation if you’re looking to target European customers by ensuring local VAT compliance. The company also provides project logistics services that allow you to create custom freight solutions to match your specific shipment needs.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Helps businesses develop actionable insights
  • Provides a scalable infrastructure
  • Manages entire supply chains

Cons:

  • Some delivery timing issues
  • Customer support needs work

Best for large businesses

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FedEx Supply Chain is one of the major carriers in North America that owns and operates a network of warehouses to help large organizations quickly get orders to customers.

Why I picked FedEx Supply Chain: This company made this list because it offers the most diverse warehouse network fit for large ecommerce businesses. FedEx Supply Chain is a multinational 3PL company that can also help online stores via an integrated approach to distribution, fulfillment, packaging, returns, and more. FedEx Supply Chain can help you maximize supply chain visibility and control through warehouse management systems and automation.

FedEx Supply Chain Standout Services and Integrations

Standout services include supply chain consulting, where you’ll get help from FedEx experts who provide an impartial business evaluation and develop a growth plan. The company also offers transportation management services to free up your time and resources and reduce capacity shortages to ensure you meet business goals.

Integrations include optimizing shipping processes within your online store via a multichannel strategy that integrates returns and distribution centers. FedEx Supply Chain does this by providing an API that anyone with development expertise can use to integrate with your ecommerce platform.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Helps identify and fix product issues
  • Real-time location tracking
  • Provides customized packaging

Cons:

  • Some delivery issues
  • Integrating with business systems is challenging

Best for shipping across railway networks

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C.H. Robinson is one of the largest 3PL logistics providers specializing in shipping products across railway networks.

Why I picked C.H. Robinson: What makes C.H. Robinson stand apart from the rest of the options on this list is its ability to ship your products via railway networks. When working with C.H. Robinson, you can add rail shipping to diversify your shipping solutions if you sell large-sized products. The company also offers a complete logistics service and tools suite, including supply chain management solutions.

C.H. Robinson Standout Services and Integrations

Standout services include advisors and policy experts who will help you with customs clearance to help you comply with changes, identify issues, and remove risks. The company can also help you with flexible warehousing distribution, fulfillment, and transportation solutions that meet your requirements.

Integrations include native connections with business systems that help you simplify transportation management and manage the entire shipment lifecycle. These connections include applications such as Banyan Technology, BlueYonder, Creative Logistics Solutions, e2open, FreightPop, MercuryGate, Microsoft Dynamics 365, NetSuite, SAP, ShipERP, and other software options.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Accommodates business needs
  • Significant intermodal rail shipping
  • Allows unplanned, last-minute shipments

Cons:

  • Needs better product handling
  • Customer support needs work

Best for scaling shipping processes

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J.B. Hunt Transport Services helps growing ecommerce businesses scale by handling every shipment type and empowering merchants to customize solutions when necessary.

Why I picked J.B. Hunt Transport Services: When your business is ready to grow, you’ll need to work with a 3PL company that can handle your new needs. So, to help, I added J.B. Hunt Transport Services for your consideration because of its ability to help you deliver your products to customers. The company offers various freight modes for every shipment need, including less-than-truckload (LTL), intermodal, specialty shipments, and more.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Standout Services

Standout services include dedicated contract services that consist of a dedicated fleet that ensures you always have the capacity to deliver products with branded equipment and drivers who wear your logo. The company also offers final mile services that deliver products directly to customers’ homes.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Can handle complex supply chains
  • Temperature-controlled shipping
  • Works well with small businesses

Cons:

  • Sometimes doesn’t provide precise delivery times
  • Customer service needs work

Best coast-to-coast network

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XPO Logistics offers ecommerce businesses a coast-to-coast freight network throughout North America. They provide capacity for every load, no matter how large it is.

Why I picked XPO Logistics: With over 8,000 tractors, 27,000 trailers, and 13,000 drivers, XPO Logistics offers your online store a freight network that covers 99% of the country from coast-to-coast. XPO Logistics can manage any sized shipment volume across its fleet network. They’re also regularly growing their fleet, so they can scale as you scale.

XPO Logistics Standout Services and Integrations

Standout services include customized solutions allowing you to monitor shipments, manage pickups and deliveries, and send real-time alerts. XPO Logistics also offers an exclusive-use service that protects your cargo from damage by reducing the number of times it's handled and guarantees space in private trailers.

Integrations include connections with standard shipping systems and ecommerce platforms, such as Clarity Venture, Cleo, ConnectPointz, Go3g.com, Happy Returns, Insight Works, NetSuite, Okta, ShipEngine, TrackingMore, and other software options. XPO Logistics also offers an API that allows you to connect the company's services with your current applications.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Guaranteed deliveries
  • Easy to schedule deliveries
  • Excellent support

Cons:

  • Tracking shipments can be slow
  • System can be buggy

Best for real-time GPS tracking

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  • Pricing upon request

DB Schenker provides air, land, and sea logistics and helps ecommerce businesses ship products to almost 130 countries globally. Online merchants can get freight services for contract logistics, lead logistics, and unique products, along with real-time GPS shipment tracking.

Why I picked DB Schenker: When shipping products, especially large, expensive items, having advanced tracking capabilities can provide some piece of mind. So, I wanted to add DB Schenker to this article because of its real-time tracking tools. The company provides information about delivery time, shipment status, and location, and you can use the tracking number for every shipment to access this information without having to log into the customer portal.

DB Schenker Standout Services and Integrations

Standout services include intercontinental supply chain solutions that provide end-to-end visibility and enable inventory reduction for worldwide deliveries. The company also offers freight management solutions that provide a broad range of capabilities, such as air and ocean freight, transportation management, and customs clearance.

Integrations include connections with a few third-party applications to help you manage your processes and shipments. These include integrations with systems such as BaseLinker, Cleo, Ingrid, Mintsoft, Odoo, Salesforce, ShippyPro, Shopify, and Vonzu.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Time-definite air freight services
  • Temperature and humidity monitoring
  • Customized statistics and reports

Cons:

  • Customer support needs work
  • Some notification issues

Best for combining sea and air logistics

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Kuehne + Nagel helps ecommerce brands reduce costs and save time by combining sea and air logistics.

Why I picked Kuehne + Nagel: If you need a new method for long-haul shipments or want to reduce carbon emissions, I added Kuehne + Nagel for your consideration. The company offers a Sea-Air feature that combines the benefits of air and sea freight that provides quick time-to-market with lower costs. Kuehne + Nagel created a service that synchronizes the two transport modes and utilizes predictive analytics in shipment planning and execution to help you keep shipment promises and meet deadlines.

Kuehne + Nagel Standout Services and Integrations

Standout services include order management capabilities to help you handle the reward and risks of global supply chains and ensure your products easily travel to international markets. Kuehne + Nagel also offers consulting services that provide comprehensive support to help turn your data into actionable insights and introduce you to a suite of digital supply chain tools.

Integrations include connections with a few tools to help optimize your shipping processes, such as AfterShip, Cleo, iScala, nChannel, and ShipperHQ. Kuehne + Nagel also offers an API that allows you to make custom integrations with your current systems.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Sustainable shipping processes
  • Leading freight technology software
  • Extensive knowledge base

Cons:

  • Small number of integrations
  • Customer support needs work

Best for shipping high-value products

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Expeditors International works well with ecommerce businesses that need a solution for shipping high-value products to customers.

Why I picked Expeditors International: I wanted to add Expeditors International to this article because of the company’s ability to handle high-value products when shipping to customers. The company uses proper protection with special white-glove treatment when sending these products. Expeditors International offers temperature-controlled delivery options if needed so that you can deliver products to any location.

Expeditors International Standout Services and Integrations

Standout services include built-in data analytics tools that offer the necessary information, including everything from the point of order to final delivery. Expeditors International also offers a Living Model service that creates a twin of your supply chain, allowing you to make decisions based on specific conditions.

Integrations include connections with internal business systems and service providers to help you share data with all stakeholders across your supply chain. The company does this through APIs, traditional EDI, and almost every other method available.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Present in over 300 locations worldwide
  • Same-day delivery options
  • Bulk shipping capabilities

Cons:

  • Pricing details aren’t transparent
  • No native integrations

The Best 3PL Software Summary

Tools Price
ShipBob Pricing upon request
Ryder Supply Chain Solutions Pricing upon request
CEVA Logistics Pricing upon request
FedEx Supply Chain Pricing upon request
C.H. Robinson Pricing upon request
J.B. Hunt Transport Services Pricing upon request
XPO Logistics Pricing upon request
DB Schenker Pricing upon request
Kuehne + Nagel Pricing upon request
Expeditors International Pricing upon request
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

Compare Software Specs Side by Side

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Other Options

If you’ve been searching for new 3PL companies to work with for some time, you already know the vast number of options available. So, to make this list more beneficial for your needs, I wanted to add more 3PL options worth considering.

Selection Criteria For 3PL Companies

Here’s a short summary of the main selection and evaluation criteria I used to develop my list of the best 3PL companies for this article:

Key Features

When looking for 3PL companies to add to this list, I ensured to add options that offer as many of the following features as possible. These essential features will help your business improve shipping operations effectively.

  • Warehouse and Inventory Management: 3PL companies can help track products within your warehouse or storage area and manage stock levels by ordering more stock when inventory is low, providing supply chain insights, and establishing automatic replenishment orders.
  • Advanced Billing and Reports: The company you partner with should support unique billing items and various invoice formats; the reporting capabilities should offer robust capabilities you can leverage for significant insights.
  • Simple Customer Portals: Good 3PL companies provide your customers with the information they need about their products, so a customer portal is crucial because it will give them the flexibility to access real-time data and understand their products’ status.
  • Returns Management: Robust returns management capabilities empower businesses to efficiently track returned products while providing features for handling them quickly and fairly through established returns criteria.
  • Performance Metrics and Processes: Excellent 3PL companies offer metrics and processes to enable you to track operations, including product images, shipping data, and tracking details.

Integrations

Throughout my research, when creating this list, I looked for 3PL company software that can integrate with multiple business applications, such as ecommerce platforms, supply chain optimization systems, CRMs, accounting and financial services tools, and analytics and reporting platforms. These connections will ensure that all essential components for efficient business operations are linked in one system. Also, I considered companies that offer APIs that enable you to customize the platform to connect with other third-party tools.

Customer Service

Excellent customer support is crucial when working with a 3PL company. So, I added organizations to this article that offer ideal support systems and prides themselves on building long-lasting partnerships with ecommerce merchants. The 3PL businesses on this list provide various support options, such as phone support, ticket systems, or dedicated teams you can reach to address complex issues.

Flexibility 

I wanted to ensure this list provides options to effectively handle your business’s specific needs by offering flexibility to change or add functionality. Also, like other ecommerce businesses, you want to focus on growth, meaning you’ll need to work with a 3PL company that can handle more extensive operations. So, I added many options offering intelligent automation capabilities for various processes while simplifying and expanding by managing new inventory.

Security

It’s common knowledge that things can change quickly. Many complications can occur as everything progresses, disrupting product fulfillment and other business operations. This can be costly, so I wanted to ensure that the options on this list provide ways to prevent this or mitigate losses if breaches happen, such as insurance policies that protect against catastrophes.

People Also Ask

The topic of 3PLs can be complex, and you might have questions about the subject when searching for new options. Luckily, people have some frequently asked questions when considering a partnership with these companies, and I’ve put together some relevant answers to help.

How much do 3PL companies cost?

The cost of working with 3PL companies can vary significantly depending on the organization’s features, accessibility, and functionality. Many options provide a price calculator to help you understand your final cost when sending products to customers. When deciding which 3PL company to work with, considering all factors involved in the final price, including set-up fees and ongoing monthly fees, is essential. Comparing the features offered by multiple providers before making a final decision is also crucial to ensure you choose a solution that meets your requirements at a fair price.

What is the largest 3PL?

In a recent annual list of the largest third-party logistics providers, C.H. Robinson holds the number one spot out of 100 logistics companies in North America. The organization boasts approximately over $1 billion in net revenue and serves a wide range of industries. C.H. Robinson also has almost 17,000 employees.

Is Amazon a 3PL or 4PL?

A 3PL typically offers basic logistics, such as warehousing and transportation. A 4PL takes this one step further by providing end-to-end solutions, such as freight forwarding, inventory management, and other beneficial services. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) services available to sellers takes the form of a 3PL company. However, it doesn’t qualify as a 3PL company because it owns the inventory, warehouses, and delivery processes used for products.

What are the benefits of using 3PL companies?

Using 3PL companies offers a multitude of advantages for ecommerce businesses. First and foremost, these specialized firms possess a wealth of industry knowledge and expertise, allowing them to simplify and optimize supply chain operations. By leveraging their established networks and infrastructure, 3PLs can provide cost-effective transportation solutions, reducing shipping expenses and improving efficiency. Moreover, partnering with a reliable 3PL enables businesses to focus on core competencies while leaving logistics management in the hands of professionals, leading to enhanced productivity and competitiveness in the market. Lastly, 3PLs often offer advanced technology platforms and analytics tools, granting businesses real-time visibility into their supply chain, enabling better decision-making, and ensuring customer satisfaction through faster and more accurate order fulfillment.

Other Ecommerce Service Reviews 

You can read the following company comparisons for more in-depth reviews of similar logistics and fulfillment services.

The Takeaway

There’s a significant number of 3PL companies that will handle the burden of managing supply chains and order fulfillment. Finding the right organization takes time, whether you need product fulfillment, freight solutions, or a combination of both. Reviewing as many options as possible is always best to help you make this crucial decision. 

If you need more helpful information like what you’ve found in this article or want practical advice for other aspects of your ecommerce business, sign up for The Ecomm Newsletter and get the information you need sent directly to your inbox.

Francois Marchand
By Francois Marchand

Francois Marchand is passionate about helping and educating business leaders, ecommerce professionals, and digital marketers grow their skill sets to stay ahead of the competition. Francois holds a BA Specialization in Communication Studies & Journalism from Concordia University (Montreal, QC) and 20+ years of experience in ecommerce, marketing, traditional and digital media, and public relations, including The Vancouver Sun, National Post, CBC/Radio-Canada, Unbounce, and Vancouver Film School.