2021 Third-Party Logistics Study

The State of Logistics Outsourcing

Results and Findings of the 25th Annual Third-Party Logistics Study

Infosys Consulting, Penske Logistics and Penn State University surveyed more than 400 professionals on leading trends in logistics and the supply chain and provides the latest perspectives on the nature of shipper and 3PL relationships. The study also covers trends and issues that will likely impact the future state of logistics outsourcing, including the COVID-19 effect.

Key findings

  • Shippers and 3PLSs expect a move from transactional relationships to strategic partnerships over the next five years.

  • Both shippers and 3PLs plan to enable leading technology over the next three years, including robotic process automation, electric vehicles, drones and autonomous vehicles.

  • 3PLs are further along than shippers in their adoption of mobile technology enablers such as smartphones, tablets, wearables and other handheld devices.

  • More than half of the shipper companies surveyed saw at least a 25% reduction in supply chain operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Risk management is top of mind for both shippers and 3PLs. Both parties identified risk management along with readiness and continuity planning as areas in most need of strengthening post-pandemic.

  • Only one third of the shippers and 60% of the 3PLs surveyed agree that the ‘Amazonifaction’ has a disruptive effect on the supply chain.

Key Figures


96% of 3PL providers and 92% of 3PL users agree that supply chains are evolving from linear chains to complex networks.


58% of the shipper companies surveyed have seen a 25% reduction in supply chain operation due to COVID-19.


35% of 3PLs – compared to 51% of shippers – are confident that organizations have well developed risk management processes.


32% of shippers stated that the ‘Amazon effect’ impacts their supply chain.

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