Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Project


BB(Hons) in Business


Rory Byrne


This research addresses the question, what are the challenges for 3PL providers to fulfil shippers’ expectations in outsourcing logistic functions and what are the trends from 2012 to 2020 in the 3PL industry globally. 3PL global and domestic markets are constantly changing. As a consequence of this, it is absolutely necessary for both users and providers of 3PL services to ensure that they are well-prepared in terms of the strategies, procedures, and technologies available to them. This can be accomplished in part by bridging the gap between what the shippers desire and what service providers offer. Hence, this paper attempts to broadly identify and categorize the challenges faced by 3PL companies and discover potential gaps for future research.

This research explores the findings of The Annual Third-Party Logistics Study reports from 2012 to 2020 as secondary data published by 3PLStudy website which aims to determine trends in shipper’s expectations for 3PL services and to identify critical shipper and 3PL viewpoints on the utilisation and provision of logistics services. Furthermore, an in-deep interview by senior manager is conducted to support the study. The documents were examined through a NVivo software.

This research reports findings that the use of 3PLs allows the shippers to concentrate on its core capabilities. The study shows that the majority of shippers and 3PL providers have a positive relationship. They agreed that their relationships generally have been successful. The study also reports activities that are more transactional, repetitive, and operational in nature tend to be the ones that are outsourced the most frequently. The activities such as domestic transportation, international transportation, warehousing, freight forwarding, and customs brokerage are the most common ones to be contracted out to a third party. However, an IT gap has grown significantly. Shippers in general are looking to their third-party logistics providers for needed IT technologies. Shippers and their 3PL providers are increasingly forming significant partnerships and collaborating to achieve supply chain objectives. It would appear that both sides have a much-heightened awareness of the objectives they are working toward, as well as the ways in which the accessibility of data and the application of technology might assist them in achieving those objectives.

Included in

Business Commons