First, Second, Third Party Logistics

An individual at Wikipedia asked the following question recently and I thought this would be a good opportunity to clear things up for those who are unfamiliar with the landscape of the 3PL industry:

“If an organization is a Third Party Logistics provider, who is the First and Second party?”

1st Party: The Supplier
2nd Party: The Company buying the product that is being stored or shipped
3rd Party Logistics Provider (3PL): The company that provides warehousing and transportation outsourcing.
4th Party Logistics Provider (4PL): The majority of people would agree that 4PL is little more than logistics consultant speak, but nevertheless here is the official definition courtesy of Accenture:
“A 4PL is an integrator that assembles the resources, capabilities, and technology of its own organization and other organizations to design, build and run comprehensive supply chain solutions.”