Logistics Management devotes a fairly large portion of its coverage to the highly dynamic third-party partly logistics (3PL) market—and for good reason. Over the past 10 years, it would be hard to find a sector of the logistics market that has seen more merger and acquisition activity or game-changing technology investment.

“As e-commerce began to boom, and as more shippers turned to providers to improve inventory management and on-time delivery, 3PLs pumped up the investment in warehouse robotics and automation to meet these expectations for fast, reliable deliveries at the right cost,” says contributing editor Karen Thuermer. “All of those ingredients presented an easy recipe for market growth.”

Indeed, Thuermer reports that 3PLs have been riding a high tide of profits, with the largest 3PLs making handsome profits over the course of 2022, despite uncertain economic conditions. According to leading 3PL analyst firm Armstrong & Associates (A&A), in 2022 the U.S. 3PL market alone saw revenues upwards of $405.5 billion—the fourth best growth year on record since A&A began estimates in 1995.

“E-commerce does continue to grow, albeit at a slower pace,” says Thuermer. “However, all indications are that 3PLs will continue to invest rigorously in warehouse robotics and automation to meet rising customer expectations for fast, reliable deliveries and an abundance of product choices in an effort to differentiate themselves in a crowded market.”

According to Logistics Management readers, the 26 3PLs taking home 2023 Quest for Quality gold have been able to rise above the fray to deliver world class service. In fact, this year the 3PL category saw some of the highest weighted scores on record.