3pl transportation company

What’s the Difference Between a 3PL and a Transportation Company?

There are similarities. Now what else does your 3PL do?

The difference between a 3PL and a transportation company can be very significant. Generally, a transportation company does one thing while a third party logistics company does multiple things. However, at times, the language isn’t as clear as it should be and some companies straddle the two worlds.

Transportation Companies

When you engage a transportation company, you’re hiring it to do one thing — get your shipment from Point A to Point B. At its core, that’s what transportation companies do. Complicating matters a bit, though, some transportation companies are offering ancillary services that go beyond simple transportation. In some cases, they may even bill themselves as offering 3PL, although they may only offer a small subset of the full list of logistics services that your company may need.

3PL Companies

A 3PL company provides third party logistics services. Providers that handle the entire range of logistics services can do everything from handling the logistics of getting a shipment taken out of the factory overseas to having it packaged, assembled into retail displays and shipped to your stores without you ever having to touch it. If you have returns, your third-party logistics company can even handle the reverse logistics tasks of processing the incoming merchandise as it makes its way through your return chain.

Many third-party logistics services aren’t full service organizations. They may have an excellent warehouse and fulfillment facility, but not have their own freight forwarders. In those instances, the company may actually subcontract the trucking to a transportation company. This gives you a single point of contact, but the work is actually getting done by multiple companies behind the scenes.

What Your Company Needs

Freight forwarders remain a popular option. If your company already has its own logistics chain built and fully optimized, it may just need help with moving goods around the world and with occasional related services. In those cases, a transportation company might be the best option for you.

However, most companies either don’t have a fully in-house supply chain or, if they do, haven’t fully optimized it. If your company fits into this category, a 3PL service might be the best choice. It can handle your transportation needs — either internally or by calling on its network of providers. At the same time, it also has access to the other logistics services that you need to fill holes in your supply chain. Since the company is entirely focused on logistics, it also has a staff of experts and access to the latest tools, technology and software that it can use to help your company optimize its logistics operations.

Clark Logistic Services offers the full range of 3PL services. In addition to transportation management, warehousing — both public and contract — and crossdocking and transloading services, Clark Logistic Services also offers access to a Foreign Trade Zone and to reverse logistics. We can also provide value added services like packaging, labeling, containerization and light manufacturing and sub-assembly.

Have any questions? Drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you.

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