May 17, 2020

Leading 3PL providers

Freddie Pierce
3 min
Con-Way truck

The 3PL logistics industry has undergone some dramatic changes in the last decade which saw some major mergers and acquisitions. The resulting companie...

The 3PL logistics industry has undergone some dramatic changes in the last decade which saw some major mergers and acquisitions. The resulting companies, with their strengthened global presence and industry expertise, have come to dominate the global 3PL market. Supply Chain Digital has taken the opportunity to profile five of the biggest 3PL networks in the world currently.

While North American and European logistics companies rule the roost today, this looks set to change in the next decade, as China and India vie for a foothold in the 3PL sector. With regard to the recession, European companies have been hardest hit, which has slowed growth.

According to the 2009 Third-Party Logistics Study, 71 percent of respondents said “unpredictable demand is the most difficult challenge to managing and operating a supply chain in an economic downturn”.

Efficiency is also key to any 3PL provider’s success, particularly in the current climate. Certainly, the companies listed operate highly efficient business models that have been replicated worldwide. In fact, this is one of the reasons for their influence in the global 3PL market.


Founded: 1994 as Deutsche Bahn AG

Services: DB Schenker provides a host of transport and logistics services by air, ocean and land. In addition, it has a goods transport rail network at its disposal, and can specialize in supply chain management as well as contract logistics.

CEO: Dr. Rüdiger Grube (Deutsche Bahn AG)

No. of employees: 91,000

No. of locations: 2,000 in 130 countries

Turnover: 15 billion euros


Founded: 2007 as a result of the merger between TNT Logistics and EGL Eagle Global Logistics

Services: From contract logistics, to end-to-end supply chain, to freight management and consulting,CEVA Logistics covers the spectrum of services. Its strength lies in the fact it was borne from a merger between two well established companies: TNT and EGL. The latter’s freight management pedigree and TNT’s expertise in the field of logistics combined to form one of the world’s largest 3PL providers.

CEO: John Pattullo

No. of employees: 46,000

No. of locations: 170 countries

Turnover: 5.5 billion euros


Founded: 1969

Services: DHL is a leader in the international express and logistics industry. The company operates four specialist divisions: Express, Global Forwarding/Freight, Supply Chain and Mail. Its presence in over 200 countries makes DHL arguably one of the biggest providers of logistics and supply chain services globally.

CEO: Frank Appel

No. of employees: 300,000

No. of locations: 200 countries

Turnover: 46.2 billion euros


Founded: 1990

Services: The California-based freight transportation and logistics company delivers its services through three operating companies: Con-Way Freight, Con-Way Truckload and Menlo Worldwide Logistics. The operating units specialize in less-than-truckload (LTL), full truckload and intermodal freight transportation; logistics, warehousing and supply chain management services; and trailer manufacturing.

CEO: Douglas W. Stotlar

No. of employees: 30,000

No. of locations: 440 locations in 18 countries

Turnover: $4.3 billion


Founded: 80 years ago

Services: Cat Logistics’ expertise lies in strategic supply chain design and analysis using network modelling tools. Its end-to-end solutions integrate supply chain design with efficiency. Meanwhile, its Service Parts Management (SPM) solution utilizes visibility in the supply chain to enhance collaboration.

President: Steve Larson      

No. of employees: 12,000

No. of locations: 130 locations in 23 countries

Turnover: $32.4 billion

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Jul 22, 2021

Uber Freight to Acquire Transplace in $2.2bn Deal

2 min
Uber Freight’s acquisition of Transplace will supercharge parent Uber’s move into logistics and supply chain

Uber Freight is to acquire logistics technology and solutions provider Transplace in a deal worth $2.25bn. 

The company will pay up to $750m in common stock and the remainder in cash to TPG Capital, Transplace’s private equity owner, pending regulatory approval and closing conditions. 

“This is a significant step forward, not just for Uber Freight but for the entire logistics ecosystem,” said Lior Ron, Head of Uber Freight, and former founder of the Uber-owned trucking start-up Otto.

Uber’s Big Play for Supply Chain

Transplace is one of the world's largest managed transportation and logistics networks, with 62,000 unique users on its platform and $11bn in freight under management. It offers truck brokerage and other capacity solutions, end-to-end visibility on cross border shipments, and a suite of digital solutions and consultancy services. 

The purchase is the latest move by parent company Uber, which launched as a San Francisco cab-hailing app in 2011, to diversify its offering and create new revenue streams in all transport segments.

Transplace said the takeover comes amid a period of “accelerated transformation in logistics”, where globalisation, shipping and transport disruption, and widespread volatility are colliding. 

Uber Freight plans to integrate the Transplace network into its own platform, which connects shippers and carriers in a dashboard that mirroring the intuitive experience found in its consumer vehicle booking and food ordering services. 

“This is an opportunity to bring together complementary best-in-class technology solutions and operational excellence from two premier companies to create an industry-first shipper-to-carrier platform that will transform shippers’ entire supply chains, delivering operational resilience and reducing costs at a time when it matters most,” said Ron. 

Frank McGuigan, CEO of Transplace, said the resulting merger will offer enhanced efficiency and transparency for shippers, and benefits of scale for carriers. “All in all, we expect to significantly reduce shipper and carrier empty miles to the benefit of highway and road infrastructures and the environment,” he added. 

History of Uber Freight

Uber Freight was established in 2017 and separated into its own business unit the following year. In 2019 the company had expanded across the entire continental US, established a headquarters in Chicago. Later that year it launched its first international division in Europe, initially from a regional foothold in the Nertherlands, and later moving into Germany. 

The logistics spinoff attracted a $500m investment from New York-based Greenbriar Equity Group in October 2020, and launched a new shipping platform for companies of all sizes in May, partly in response to a driver shortage in Canada.

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