If you’re an eCommerce retailer, you should be aware of third party logistics service providers and the services they offer. This is because you have probably encountered them in one way or the other in the course of operating your business. Now mostly known by the acronym 3PL, what are these companies, what do they do and what are the different types of 3PL providers? 

At QRC Logistics, we define 3rd party logistics as a service provider who is responsible for managing the outbound logistics activity of an eCommerce retailer or manufacturer. This includes activities such as warehousing, transportation, inventory management, and order fulfillment services. 

What Are Third Party Logistics Providers?

What are 3PLs? 3rd party logistics providers (or 3PLs) are companies that provide various types of outsourced services for other businesses. Such services include transportation, warehousing, inventory management, and fulfillment. 3PL shipping companies have the ability to reduce costs as well as streamline processes for their clients which helps them become more efficient in their operations.

Types Of 3PL Providers

Like most sectors connected to eCommerce businesses, the logistics sector has seen significant growth in the last few years. As a result, the services provided by 3PL vendors have also expanded to include a variety of options. Here are the different types of logist companies and the services they offer:

  1. Standard 3PL Providers

If your eCommerce business only requires basic services such as warehousing, transportation, and inventory management, then a standard 3PL logistics provider is your best option. These providers offer simple but efficient services for their clients at an affordable cost.

Many new and upcoming 3PL logistics providers in the market fall into this category. If your company requires more complicated services than you may need to move on to the next type of provider. 

  1. Service Developer 3PL

Along with the standard services, service-developer 3 PLs also provide additional value-added services such as IT, compliance management, security, and shipment tracking. These extra services help to provide safety and dependability for their clients which can lead to significant cost savings. They ensure that packages get to the desired destination safely and on time.

Some of these types of logistics companies also provide services like package picking and cross-docking. Cross-docking is a process where goods are transferred from an arriving truck to a departing one, without being stored in the warehouse. This helps to reduce the cost of storage as well as improve delivery times.

  1. Customer Adapter 3PL

These types of providers are the best 3PL companies for e-commerce stores that have complex operations and require custom solutions. These third-party logistics companies provide almost all of the logistics needs of their clients and they can even create custom plans that are tailored to the specific needs of the business.

The services provided by customer-adaptor 3PL logistics companies include 100% management of the shipping process and technology-related services like a transportation management system that can track shipments. Many 3pls are using the technology area to distinguish themselves from the crowd. They also provide additional services like returns management and customer service support.

These providers are usually more expensive than other types of 3PLs, but they offer a very comprehensive service which is great for those businesses that have complicated operations.

  1. Customer Developer 3PL

Customer developer 3PL companies completely take over the logistics operations of their clients. They provide all services required by their client becoming the de facto logistics department. This type of 3PL provider is perfect for businesses that want to outsource their entire logistics operations and have no need for their in-house team.

These 3pl service providers are also great for those businesses that have limited resources and need someone else to manage the complicated logistics process. Companies at this level of 3PL service are fewer but they are the largest third party logistics companies. They have the experience and resources necessary to provide full logistics services. They are the top 3rd party logistics companies.

What Are The Features of The Different 3PL Logistics Services?

  1. Warehousing: 3PL companies in USA offer a wide range of warehousing services such as storage, packaging, labelling, and order fulfillment. They are usually able to provide specialised solutions for their clients depending on the products they store and ship.

  2. Transportation: 3PL firms offer transportation services including road, air, and sea freight as well as rail services. They do this using the resources of other transportation companies. They may also use the assets of the company they work for. The bottom line is that they always do what is best for their 3PL customers.

  3. Forwarding: Third party logistics service providers help their clients to manage the movement of goods from point A to point B. They provide services such as customs clearance and documentation, tracking, and tracing of shipments, as well as warehousing and storage solutions.

  4. Shipping/Management: 3 party logistics companies provide resources for running the whole logistics process. They can also offer other value-added services like negotiating with carriers.

  5. Finance: Financial services like accounting, payments, auditing, credit facilities, and payment processing are among the services provided by 3PL carriers.

  6. Information: These third party logistics companies are part of a developing field of logistics that focuses on electronic and internet services.


3PL logistics providers are a great way to simplify the complex and often expensive process of logistics for eCommerce businesses. No matter what type of eCommerce business you are running, there is a 3 PL provider out there that can meet your needs. Each type of 3PL company offers its own unique set of services and capabilities that make it suitable for different types of businesses. By taking the time to find the right provider for your needs, you can ensure that you get the most out of your 3PL services.

Contact QRC Logistics For Your Third Party Logistics Services

If you are looking for a reliable and experienced third party logistics provider, look no further than QRC Logistics. We have been providing expert solutions to our clients for over 40 years and we specialise in helping eCommerce businesses find the perfect fit for their needs. Contact us today at [phone] to learn more about our 3 PL services and how we can help your brand.