Gartner defines a third-party logistics (3PL) provider as a commercial firm that provides one or more logistics functions on behalf of its customers, as a service, for a fee. To be a 3PL, the logistics service provider (also referred to as an LSP) predominantly operates a business that moves, stores or manages products or materials on behalf of its customer, in some manner, without ever taking ownership of such products or materials. 3PLs provide many traditional logistics related services, such as: transportation management and brokerage, warehousing, distribution and fulfillment (contract logistics), air and ocean freight forwarding, international logistics management (such as customs brokerage). Increasingly, 3PLs have extended their services beyond the basics, providing opportunities to increase their value and resolve additional customer supply chain challenges.
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