What is a Third Party Logistics Provider (3PL) and does your business need one?

What is a Third Party Logistics Provider (3PL) and does your business need one?


5 minute read | By Denholm Good Logistics

Last updated: January 15, 2024 | Published: February 19, 2019


Are you considering outsourcing your transportation options to a third party logistics provider (3PL)? If so, you’ll need to have a good understanding of what precisely a 3PL offers and how they work before then deciding which one is right for your business.

What is a 3PL?

3PL (sometimes referred to as TPL) is when a company outsources elements of their distribution, warehousing, and fulfilment to third parties. Companies that specialise in 3PL provide integrated fulfilment, warehousing and transportation services which can flex as required depending on the customer’s requirements.

You can call on a 3PL to provide individual services or a whole range of services that fulfil different parts of your supply chain. So, for example, you could use a 3PL for warehousing services, but you could use them for any number of services such as fulfilment, storage and distribution, customs brokerage, logistics software such as analytics and track and trace.

What are the primary services I can rely on a 3PL for?

Transportation and Distribution

3PLs will help you with all your transportation and distribution needs including LTL (Less than truckload) and FTL (Full truckload) services. For example, at John Good, we provide Part Load (LTL) & Full Load (FTL) Road Freight Services to and from Mainland Europe and Turkey and we’re specialists in groupage, full load and express transit van services including refrigerated transport and oversized loads. Our team oversee every aspect of your delivery and track every stage to keep customers fully informed on the status of their cargo at all times.

3PL transportation services include load booking, freight routing, online tracking, proof of delivery, bill of lading preparation, and safe delivery reporting as well as customs clearance when transporting shipments across borders to ensure swift border clearance. When using LTL services, the 3PL will organise packaging, logistics, transportation and warehousing to ensure your shipments arrive at their destination on time.

Freight Forwarding

A 3PL can look after all your freight forwarding needs, simplifying and streamlining the process as much as possible. Freight forwarders work with various providers to move goods by sea, air, rail and road and deal with all issues of logistics and documentation to ensure a smooth and hassle free experience that can take goods right up to their final point of sale.

They’ll help manage your requirements and identify the best options including FCL (Full Container Load), which means that you’re paying for exclusive use of a standard 20ft or 40ft container and LCL (Less than Container Load), where you share a container with other consignees.


3PLs offer a range of warehousing and storage services including unloading, palletising, storage, distribution and pick and pack services as well as value-added services such as decanting, labelling, repackaging and quality control. Innovative warehouse management software provides customers with real-time access to stock levels and order details, providing full visibility of your supply chain without the hassle of storing, packing, labelling and distributing goods yourself.

Benefits of working with a 3PL Provider

Working with 3PLs can help streamline your supply chains, saving time, hassle and money and allowing you to focus on the other needs of your business. By working with experienced third parties, you’ll have a trusted advisor who is an expert in their field working hard to support you in sourcing the best solutions for your requirements. What’s more, 3PLs allow you to scale and flex your requirements on demand giving you the flexibility to be agile and respond to the needs of market and customer needs as required.

Where can I find more information on 3PL services?

Please contact our local specialists who will be happy to advise on the best third-party logistics options for your business. We have dedicated teams of experienced professionals all over the UK.

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