What is 3PL?

When we tell people that KCH Transportation is a 3PL service provider, many of them ask what 3PL means. Simply put, 3PL – which stands for "3rd-party logistics" – is a freight shipping model that allows companies to outsource their transport needs to tactical logistics firms.

By using the 3PL model, shippers and manufacturers can rely on transportation professionals to handle their freight so they can focus on growing their business. 3PL offers a much more cost-effective solution than hiring an in-house logistics team or trying to handle it all yourself.

Let's make a quick comparison of 3PL against two other common logistics models:


With the 1PL system, manufacturers plan and execute their own shipping strategies to get their goods to warehouses, vendors, ports, and other destinations. 1PL requires you to have an in-house team of logistics employees, own a fleet of vehicles, employ your own drivers, and manage the entire supply chain network.


You’re still required to manage the logistics in-house under a 2PL model, but you hire external transportation companies and trucking companies to move your freight. With this model, you may lose the sense of the actual cost of shipping and have to manage relationships with a complete network of transport companies.


With 3PL, all logistics are handled for you by a strategic partner, whose in-house logistics team will develop shipping solutions and then match your needs with suitable carriers. 3PL providers act as trusted advisors who take care of the entire shipping process for you, bringing you peace of mind at a lower cost.


Reduced shipping costs: 3PL providers have strong relationships with freight carriers and can often get companies better rates based on volume and shipping frequencies. This is because 3PLs send carriers multiple customers, giving them more leverage than you would dealing with them one on one.

Reduced labor costs:

Working with a 3PL provider gives you access to their logistics team at a much lower price than hiring, training, and managing your own dedicated logistics staff.

Leverage 3PL software:

Purchasing dedicated logistics software and training staff to use it can be costly. 3PL already has the software and logistics team to help you solve transportation issues, saving you even more time and money.

Expertise at your fingertips:

Your 3PL provider can answer all of your transportation needs with just one phone call. You'll have a team of seasoned 3PL logistics experts with all the experience you need to keep your products moving.

Improved customer experience:

If your vendors or customers need same-day or next-day shipping, 3PL providers have a ready-made network that can help fulfill their needs. Better customer service leads to repeat sales and more revenue.

Better agility:

If your business experiences seasonal fluctuations in demand, 3PL offers flexible transportation solutions that can scale up or down as you need. This eliminates the need to commit capital to transportation when you don't need to.

Mitigate shipping risks:

When shipments are delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, 3PL providers can respond quickly with a ready solution that will get your cargo moving again.


We understand how important it is to build relationships with our customers. KCH wants to be your logistics partner, not just your vendor.

That’s why we focus on providing excellent customer service and complete solutions that address your transportation needs. Whether you need expertise in safely managing hazardous materials, handling oversized shipments requiring permits and escorts, or moving time-critical loads, KCH takes care of every detail, so there are no last-minute surprises.


Learn more about what a 3PL transportation solution can do for you

KCH Transportation is one of North America’s most trusted 3PL shipping providers. We offer completely customized transportation solutions with a white glove customer experience unparalleled in our industry.

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