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Now a British view of top global 3PLs: Transport Intelligence provides another view as to which companies are the worldwide 3PL leaders. (Top 50 3PLs).

The British research firm Transport Intelligence has another take on who the top Global 3Pls are. The analysis and market research firm based in Cambridge, United Kingdom also publishes a list of the top global contract logistics providers. The rankings in its latest report, Logistics Leaders 2003, were based on global and European contract logistics revenues at the end of 2002.

European companies dominated the rankings cited in the Transport Intelligence report. With global contract logistics revenues of $4.2 billion, UK-based Exel retained its top position from the previous year. The subsidiary of the Dutch Post Office, TNT Logistics, was the second largest company overall with revenues of $3.9 billion. Several recent large acquisitions have seen TNT Logistics substantially narrow the gap with Exel.

However, the biggest climber in the rankings was UK-based Wincanton Logistics. Through its acquisition of fellow UK company P&O Trans European it has risen from ninth position to third, doubling its revenues to $2,53 billion, and creating a strong European platform. It has also entered into a joint venture with Kuehne & Nagel, the Swiss-based owner of US logistics company, USCO and US reverse logistics provider, Genco. "Wincanton extended their scope throughout Europe with the acquisition of P&O," said John Manners-Bell, the author of the report. "The strength of P&O is on mainland Europe."

The largest US company in the rankings was UPS Logistics Group, now integrated with UPS Freight (formerly Fritz) into UPS Supply Chain Solutions. Besides its U.S. revenues, UPS SCS drew substantial income from Europe and Asia Pacific.

Although the top 20 global 3PLs saw their overall revenues rise to $27.6 billion--an 8.1 percent from 2001 to 2002--profit margins declined. The report said that operating margins fell from 3.98 percent to 3.37 due to difficult economic environment. The report noted that factors behind decreased profits included increased fuel costs, client price pressure, difficulties with acquisition integration, and general economic malaise. "If you read the publicity the 3Pls are pushing out, you'd think they're incurring losses," said Manners-Bell. "In a bad economic environment, the margins haven't fall as far as you'd think."

Manners-Bell said that transportation de-regulation in Britain in the 1970s laid the basis for UK contract logistics providers to dominate the global marketplace. "UK companies were able to innovate and consolidate in line with the increasing supply chain requirements of retailers and manufacturers," said Manners-Bell, a lead analyst at Transport Intelligence. "Due to competition in their home market, UK logistics operators such as Exel and Tibbett & Britten have looked abroad for new sources of revenue, and hence they are now also amongst the largest on a worldwide scale."

Manners-Bell said that U.S. companies have been slower to expand abroad. Moreover, their home market is still relatively immature, as logistics outsourcing has not developed as quickly as in some European markets. Still, U.S. companies can prosper as their home market expands and they increasingly globalize in the way that only UPS Supply Chain Services has done so far.

Manners-Bells said he expects more mergers in the future among global 3PLs. "The only way to meet their (revenue) targets is through M and A (mergers and acquisitions)," said Manners-Bell. "The coming year will see considerable change in this top ten as consolidation through mergers and acquisitions in the still fragmented industry continues."
Share of the top 20 company aggregated
revenue by nationality of suppliers

Singapore         2.7%
France            3.1%
Switzerland       4.6%
Germany          14.3%
Netherlands      12.5%
United States    22.0%
United Kingdom   40.8%

Source: Company accounts, Transport Intelligence estimates

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Top twenty global players by
size of contract logistics revenues

RANK   COMPANY                   COUNTRY

1      Exel                      UK
2      TNT Logistics             Netherlands
3      Tibbett & Britten         UK
4      Wincanton                 UK
5      UPS SCS                   USA
6      DPWN DHL Solutions        Germany
7      Thiel                     Germany
8      Hays                      UK
9      Ryder                     USA
10     Christian Salvesen        UK
11     Penske Logistics          USA
12     Fiege                     Germany
13     CNF (Menlo Logistics)     USA
14     Geodis                    France
15     TDG                       UK
16     Kuehne & Nagel            Switzerland
17     NOL (APL Logistics)       Singapore
18     northAmerican Logistics   USA
19     Panalpina                 Switzerland
20     Cat Logistics             USA

Source: company accounts, Transport Intelligence estimates

Editor's Note: Transport Intelligence specialises in research and expert analysis dedicated to the European logistics industry. Offering a comprehensive portfolio of reports, company profiles and daily briefings, Transport Intelligence provides strategic analysis to a range of blue chip logistics companies, manufacturers, consultancies and investment banks The company is located at PO Box 830, Highfields, Caldecote, Cambridge CB3 7ZW. Phone: 011+44 1954 212 858. Website:
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Publication:Supply Chain Management Review
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 1, 2003
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