Definition of Third Party Logistics

Third party supply of logistics related operations between traders by an independent organization.

Third Party Logistics is the activity of outsourcing activities related to Logistics and Distribution. The 3PL industry includes Logistics Solution Providers (LSPs) and the shippers whose business processes they support.
Logistics Focus

A 3PL is an outsourced provider that manages all or a significant part of an organization’s logistics requirements and performs transportation, locating and sometimes product consolidation activities.
Bridgefield Group

Third Party Logistics (3PL) is the function by which the owner of goods (The Client Company) outsources various elements of the supply chain to one 3PL company that can perform the management function of the clients inbound freight, customs, warehousing, order fulfilment, distribution, and outbound freight to the clients customers.

Third party logistics describes businesses that provide one or many of a variety of logistics-related services. Types of services would include public warehousing, contract warehousing, transportation management, distribution management, freight consolidation.
Accuracy Book

A standard definition of just what a third-party logistics provider is can vary from contract to contract. Is everyone who thinks they are engaged in a “third-party contract” really involved in a “third-party contract?” If a distributor, for example, has the UPS truck pull up to their door a few times a day or week, is UPS their 3PL? And are third-party agreements a threat—a possible replacement, in some cases—for distributors?
Industrial Distribution

We define the Third-Party Logistics provider as one who is responsible to “integrate, coordinate, and manage functions for the smooth handling of sourcing, output and production.”

A third-party logistics provider (abbreviated 3PL, or sometimes TPL) is a firm that provides a one stop shop service to its customers of outsourced (or “third party”) logistics services for part, or all of their supply chain management functions.

Learn more about What a 3PL is or read about the History of Logistics