U.S. Third Party Logistics Market Predicted to have Grown by 6.3% in 2012

Gus J. Bourgeois, III

September 5, 2012

According to published reports, Research firm Armstrong & Associates estimates that the US third party logistics (3PL) market will finish the year with increased growth over 2011, but will continue to struggle in light of concerns abroad. The consulting firm predicted that the U.S. 3PL market will report gross revenues of $142.2 billion, a 6.3% increase over 2011 figures. While the estimate of 6.3% year-over-year growth, which would be more than three times estimated US GDP for the same period, is less than the industry’s average of 10% growth since 1997, the numbers nonetheless reflect that the industry continues to rebound from lows experienced in 2009, at the height of the Great Recession.

While this report is good news for the 3PL industry, and for the US economy in general, there are significant headwinds in the world economy – in particular, continued economic turmoil in Europe and a slowdown in growth in Asia. On the local front, however, continued activity in the oil & gas sector, coupled with a traditionally strong first year of a new presidential term and the anticipated impact of the completion of the Panama Canal expansion in 2014, point to more growth in local 3PL activity in 2013, as companies continue to focus their efforts and resources on growing their core businesses and expand their presence locally. These factors should allow local and regional 3PL’s the opportunity to compete for new business, and to continue to grow at a fast pace in the upcoming year.