The global 3PL market is estimated to reach USD 1.3 trillion by 2024, registering a strong CAGR over the forecast period, 2019 – 2024. The factors driving the growth are the increasing outsourcing of major transportation and logistics services and growing e-commerce penetration. Whereas, the loss of control over the shipping functions is a major restraint to the market. The APAC region is one of the fastest-growing regions, globally, while North America is the leading region, owing to the presence of major players and a developed market.
The international transportation management segment in 2017 showed a revenue growth of 10.3%, driven by rising air freight capacity and the exploding global e-commerce growth.
Shippers are continuing to leverage what 3PLs offer, allowing them to optimize the supply chain, minimize costs and create value, and align expectations as a key to achieving success for both parties.
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Scope of the Report
The global 3PL market covers the players actively operating in the 3PL segments, like domestic and international transportation, value added warehousing, and end users catered to by the market, like consumer and retail, automotive, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and other industrial activity sectors.
Key Market Trends
Growing World Trade
Global trade recorded its highest growth rate in six years in 2017, both in volume and value terms. Merchandise trade volume, as measured by the average of exports and imports, grew by 4.7%, marking the first annual increase in excess of 3.0%, since 2011. The dollar value of merchandise exports rose by 11%, to USD 17.73 trillion, while commercial services exports increased by 8% to USD 5.2 trillion. Merchandise trade growth in 2017 was up sharply from 2016, when trade volume grew by just 1.8%, the smallest increase since the financial crisis of 2008. Strong growth in trade volume in 2017 was driven primarily by cyclical factors, as world growth in GDP at market exchange rates rose to 3.0% from 2.3% the previous year. This economic activity was driven by increased investment spending, particularly in the United States, and rising consumption, notably in Japan. Meanwhile, China and the European Union maintained a steady rate of expansion, providing a solid base for the global demand.
World merchandise trade growth is expected to remain strong in 2019, after posting its largest increase in six years in 2017. Growth is expected to be moderate to 4.0% in 2019. Trade volume growth was the strongest in 2017, since 2011. Looking at the situation in value terms, growth rates in current US dollars in 2017 (10.7% for merchandise exports, 7.4% for commercial services exports) were even stronger, reflecting both increasing quantities and rising prices. World real GDP at market exchange rates grew by 3.2% in 2018 and is expected to grow by 3.1% in 2019. Brighter prospects reflect not only investment and employment gains, but also improved business and consumer confidence, as measured by OECD business cycle indicators.
The acceleration of world merchandise trade volume growth to 4.7% in 2017 from 1.8% in 2016 was broad based, driven by rising import demand across regions, but most notably in Asia. The largest gains were recorded on the import side in developing economies, where trade growth surged to 7.2% in 2017 from 1.9% in 2016. Import demand also picked up in developed countries, albeit less dramatically, as merchandise trade growth in volume terms increased to 3.1% in 2017 from 2.0% in 2016. Meanwhile, merchandise exports grew by 3.5% in developed countries and 5.7% in developing countries last year, up from 1.1% and 2.3%, respectively, in the previous year. This growing trade is a major driver for the 3PL market, as it helps manage the trade functions effectively.
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APAC is a Major Region for 3PL Market
Asia was the top contributor to trade growth in volume terms in 2017, growing by 8%. Asia saw steady year-on-year growth in imports throughout 2017. Asia recorded the highest growth in merchandise trade volume in 2017 for exports (6.7%) and imports (9.6%), following two years of modest expansion. The region contributed 2.3% to the global growth of 4.5% in 2017, or 51% of the total increase. Asia also contributed 2.9% to the world import growth of 4.8%, or 60% of the overall increase. In 2017, Asia-Pacific’s third-party logistics market was estimated to be USD 329.3 billion.
The global 3PL market is highly competitive with the presence of major international players, like Agility, CEVA, DB Schenker, and DHL, among others, trying to capture significant market shares. The industry exhibits shifting patterns and this has allowed new competitors to enter the market and challenge the existing players. Also, 3PL players have shown the willingness to partner with other players to reduce cost and leverage on mutual competitive advantage. Hence, the market observes a high volume of partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions. The Asia-Pacific region has high concentration of new and emerging players. Major regional players have been observed to venture into new regions, allowing the companies to improve their geographic reach.
The global 3PL market players are also observing a shift in technology with the development of artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), and Blockchain, among others. The introduction and implementation of these new technologies have further intensified the market competition. Additionally, the technology adoption also helped reduce operational costs and improved efficiency.
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This post was originally published on The Picayune Current