For employees at A.M. Transport, one of the most frequently asked questions is “what exactly do you do there?” The easiest and most frequent explanation is that we are a third-party logistics provider along with a loose description of how we help match shippers and carriers. All of that is true of course, but that explanation fails to paint a clear picture of what we do nor does it identify the specific roles that are an integral part of the process. Further, people do not seem to be satisfied with the idea that some sort of logistical magic happens while we all just kick back and search for Pokemon all day. In an effort to make what we do here a little more transparent (without sharing ALL of our secrets of course!) we will be presenting a series of blog articles on 3PLs and our approach at A.M. Transport. We will highlight the meaning, history and trends of 3PLs and then offer a look “behind the scenes”, featuring employees and snapshots of what a typical workday looks like for them.
So what is a 3PL anyway?
The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) defines 3PL as follows:
“Outsourcing all or much of a company’s logistics operations to a specialized company…In 2008 legislation passed declaring that the legal definition of a 3PL is ‘ A person who solely receives, holds, or otherwise transports a consumer product in the ordinary course of business but who does not take title to the product.'” 
According to CSCMP, the term “3PL” was first used in the early 1970s. Prior to that, contracts for transportation featured two parties, the shipper and the carrier. As intermediaries began to engage in process by accepting shipments from the shippers and tendering them to carriers, they eventually became a 3rd party to contracts and subsequently came to be known as third-party logistics (3PLs).
Check out this infographic to learn more about why 3PLs exist and how they benefit companies: 
Next time on Unsolved AMT Mysteries…Trends in 3PLs and AMT
 Counsel of Supply Chain Management Terms and Glossary: Updated August 2013
 Top 5 Reasons Why You Need a 3PL Provider. WorldTrans http://www.worldtransinc.com
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