Warehousing 3PLs Expand
The boundaries defining U.S.
(VAWD) get fuzzier. The major
3PLs in the contract warehousing market continue to
expand their transportation
functionality to better match
broader customer needs. As a
result, all of the major players
now have expanded transportation services, which add
significantly to their value-added warehousing capability.
—Dick Armstrong, chairman of
Armstrong & Associates
he largest North American value-added warehousing and distribution company, Exel, operates Oracle’s transportation management system and others. It also has a large freight brokerage,
Exel Transportation, and a home delivery operator, Exel Direct.
Exel has more than 600 tractors in commingled dedicated contract carriage
(DCC) in North America. To round out its cross-selling capabilities, it is owned
by the largest global freight forwarder, DHL.
Jacobson Companies, the third-largest contract warehousing company, has over
350 tractors with 260 in DCC. In addition, Jacobson has expanded to China and initiated international freight forwarding. Jacobson plans on opening nine offices in
China. Major multifunction, value-added customers are Dow, ITS and Ralston.
OHL, the fourth-largest, has extensive overseas forwarding operations
(Barthco) in 60 locations and over 120 tractors supporting operations. In addition, OHL does extensive transportation management using the Oracle TMS.
UTi Contract Logistics, CEVA, Kuehne + Nagel and DB Schenker are other
companies with large value-added warehousing, global freight forwarding
operations plus extensive transportation management activity. These companies are all technologically sophisticated with TMS, WMS and other supply
chain management capabilities.
All of the VAWD 3PLs with freight forwarding and TMS capabilities offer one-stop shopping global supply chain management. They have scale and scope
particularly with regard to combined transportation functions that put them in a
different category from smaller competitors.
There are other transportation marketing approaches, which have worked well
for large North America-only companies. GENCO has a large TMS operation that
specializes in small package contracting and auditing. GENCO is the second-largest
VAWD with a heavy emphasis on return logistics and fulfillment. Kenco, NFI, Saddle Creek and Kane Is Able use dedicated contract carriage to augment their distribution operations. DSC uses extensive i2-based transportation management.
Menlo Worldwide uses extensive non-asset TM and freight brokerage (
Conway Multimodal) to complement its primarily multi-client VAWD operations.
Menlo has expanded its network to include Europe, Asia and Australia.
The transportation functionality expansions of North American-based
VAWD 3PLs increasingly makes them look more like European contract
The public warehousing segment is expected to grow slowly or shrink over the
next five years while VAWD grows at 7 percent or more per year.