1. Overview of Logistics Companies in the United States
The United States is the largest economy globally, and most of it can be attributed t0 three factors - area, resources, and technology. The first two have helped it further technology faster than most countries on the planet. As a result, it is the richest and one of the most technologically advanced countries worldwide, home to the largest companies and naturally the largest consumer market globally. However, for a country that is so vast, spans multiple time zones, and dramatically different topographies, it has successfully consolidated the fifty states and ensured that business is seamless. One of the biggest reasons the US has been successful is its state-of-the-art logistics industry that forms almost 8% of its economy.
Logistics is a big part of the so-called American dream, making sure that products from all over the nation, and the world, reach consumers throughout the country efficiently and timely. The US is home to some of the world’s largest logistics companies that help businesses connect with domestic and international customers through their vast network. However, sheer number of options for logistics companies available in the US can easily overwhelm anyone looking for an ideal solution. Further, understanding the extensive logistics industry in the country is an arduous task. Therefore, this article is an exhaustive guide to understanding the dynamics of the US logistics industry and which companies are at the forefront of the sector.
2. Top 10 Best Logistics Companies in the United States (U.S.A.) for eCommerce Businesses
UPS is one of the largest shipping companies in the US, being the largest in revenue. It is an international carrier established in 1907 toward the end of the first world war. The company employs more than 500,000 people worldwide, processing over 4.7 billion packages annually & shipping items to 220+ countries and territories globally.
UPS offers a web-based platform that allows users to generate and print shipping labels, schedule pickups, send notifications on the shipment status, and more. It enables businesses to ship bulk orders and also provides customs clearance solutions. In addition, the carrier facilitates cross-border commerce and provides international freight services through air, sea, and surface while also providing reverse logistics solutions.
DHL is a leading American shipping company established in 1969, was acquired by the postal giant Deutsche Post Group in 2001, and has since become one of the largest international carriers in the world. It employs 400,000+ people worldwide that help the company process over 1.8 billion shipments each year. Further, its vast network allows businesses in the USA to reach customers in more than 220 nations.
DHL offers a wide variety of logistics solutions, including freight services via air, sea, and surface transportation, express shipping services, solutions for shipping heavy items and sensitive items. In addition, it offers dedicated solutions for eCommerce companies, even facilitating cross-border commerce and reverse logistics.
FedEx, formerly known as the Federal Express, is a popular international carrier founded in the USA in 1971. It is one of the world’s largest shipping and logistics service providers, with over 600,000 employed across seven continents, processing an average of 12.5 million packages each day. Additionally, it maintains one of the largest shipping networks globally, which allows its clients to reach over 220 nations and territories across the globe.
FedEx has an extensive service portfolio ranging from various express shipping options such as overnight shipping, same delivery, and next-day delivery. It is a major freight forwarding company as well as a customs brokerage service provider. The company allows businesses to transport items of all sorts, including heavy, sensitive, and dangerous goods.
The United States Postal Service or the USPS is a government-owned agency that offers logistics and postal services in the USA. It is one of the biggest logistics companies in the country and employs over 600,000 people across 50 states. It was established in 1971 in Washington and currently operates as an independent and self-funded body under the executive branch of the government.
The USPS allows businesses to send shipments throughout the US and to countries abroad, provides order tracking facilities, and enables users to generate shipping labels through its platform. In addition, the company offers value-added services such as insurance, proof of delivery services, reverse logistics, cash on delivery, signature services, and more.
2.5) C. H. Robinson
H. Robinson, named after its founder Charles Henry Robinson, is a significant carrier operating in the US. The company was founded more than 100 years ago in North Dakota; however, it is currently headquartered in Minnesota. It manages 19 million shipments per year for its 105,000+ customers with the help of its 16,000+ employees.
The company is popular for offering international freight service through air, ocean, and surface. It allows businesses to send items using its FTL (full truckload), FCL (full container load) as well LTL, and LCL solutions. It also offers supply chain management, 3PL, last-mile delivery, warehousing, and more solutions.
2.6) Kuehne + Nagel
Keuhne+Nagel is an international shipping and logistics service provider with significant operations in the US. It maintains over 1000 offices in 109 countries throughout the world, with more than 80,000 employees. It has a customer base of more than 400,000 businesses and has been one of the world's most popular ocean transportation companies for over 100 years.
The company is famous for its vast ocean transportation network and is a leading provider of freight forwarding services globally. It also offers freight solutions via air, rail, and surface transportation. The company provides various logistics services, including warehousing, project logistics solutions, customs clearance services, supply chain management, and more.
2.7) J. B. Hunt
B. Hunt is an American logistics company known for offering surface transportation solutions. It was founded in 1961 and is headquartered in the state of Arkansas. The platform owns a fleet of over 12,000 trucks and employs more than 24,000 people throughout the country. B. Hunt is known for offering technology-driven solutions to place, manage and track orders. It offers intermodal logistics solutions, LTL and FTL shipping services, specialized delivery solutions including temperature-controlled shipping, and more.
2.8) XPO Logistics
XPO Logistics is a leading freight transportation solutions provider based in the US. It was founded in 1989 and is currently headquartered in Connecticut. The company has a presence in 756 cities across 20 countries, where it employs over 42,000 people to serve its 50,000+ customer base. XPO Logistics specializes in surface transportation solutions such LTL, FTL, drayage, intermodal logistics, and more. It also allows businesses to outsource their logistics operations through its managed transportation service. Apart from these, it facilitates cross-border commerce, provides global freight forwarding services and last-mile delivery services.
2.9) Schneider Logistics
Schneider Logistics is a major logistics provider in the US founded in 1935. It manages a fleet of 9,000+ tractors and approximately 36,900 trailers with the help of its 15,000+ employees. The company owns and operates over 180 facilities throughout the world that help it complete over 9.2 million freight miles each day.
Schneider Logistics offers transportation solutions including LTL and FTL services, intermodal logistics, bulk transport, specialized transportation, as well as flatbed solutions. It allows businesses to make long-haul shipments, provide carrier brokerage services, warehousing solutions as well as international shipping services.
2.10) Ceva Logistics
Ceva Logistics is an international supply chain management and logistics service, provider. It currently operates in over 160 countries throughout the world, including the United States of America. It owns and operates over 1000 fulfillment centers across the globe and allows businesses in the USA to make international shipments.
Ceva offers state-of-the-art warehouse management software and allows businesses to manage their inventory and optimize warehouse operations. It offers international shipping and freight solutions as well as several 3PL services, including warehousing, customs clearance, cargo insurance as well as reverse logistics. Additionally, the company also offers last-mile delivery solutions.
3. List of Different Types of Services Provided by Logistics Companies in the United States
The logistics companies operating in the US are highly competitive and provide a variety of solutions to help service businesses in the country. Here is a list of services that are typically offered by logistics companies in the United States.
Shipping, delivery, and transportation have always been the core offering of logistics companies. Although there exist logistics service providers who offer solutions specific to a stage, most companies provide solutions that can be used to move from one location to another. Shipping services allow companies to connect with customers within and outside of the US, facilitating cross-border commerce and propagating an international economy.
Warehousing services are another important solution offered by logistics companies. It helps businesses store items of all sorts of items in a secure location to process and dispatch as and when required. Warehouses are often strategically located, allowing businesses to store products in locations closer to their customers, enabling faster order fulfillment.
3.3) Reverse Logistics
The process of reverse logistics helps businesses, especially eCommerce companies, handle the returning lifecycle of a product that was either not accepted by the customer, was undelivered or was replaced or returned by the customer. The solution is used to receive the product back from the location of the final delivery and send it back to the original warehouse or hub where it was stored.
3.4) 3PL Solutions
Third-party logistics is an umbrella term for a host of services that supplement the moving of products. It involves a provider that offers a variety of logistics solutions as a service to improve the quality and efficiency of the entire operation. 3PL services include, inter alia, customs clearance, distribution of goods, inventory management, packaging and labeling solutions, and more.
3.5) eCommerce Fulfillment
One of the biggest offerings that are provided by logistics companies today is eCommerce order fulfillment services. It includes several solutions such as shipping, drop-shipping, warehousing, reverse logistics, and more which are dedicated to serving the eCommerce industry. Since the industry exists most in the digital space, it is the logistics sector that allows online sellers to connect with their customers.
4. Factors to Consider when Choosing a Logistics Company in the United States
Different services, a large number of providers, and several other factors make it tough for businesses which companies would actually be a valuable addition to their operations. In order to understand that, here is a list of factors that businesses must consider before partnering with a logistics service provider.
Pricing is one of the most important factors while getting involved in any partnership. Similarly, logistics cost is a major element. The industry comprises options that offer excessively cheap to extremely expensive solutions. However, it is important to strike a balance. The cheapest option in the market is likely poor in quality and would eventually lead to higher spending in the form of losses and compensations. The most expensive option, on the other hand, is unsustainable for the business. Therefore, the only logical solution is to understand the affordability of a company and then select a partner who is reasonably priced and maintains high-quality standards.
The area served by a logistics company is critical to the success of any business. It not only defines if the business will be able to cater to its existing customers but also determines if the company allows businesses to expand to newer markets and gain more customers. Ideally, a logistics company that has a higher coverage area has more efficient operations owing to the large network. It is also advisable to choose a company with wider serviceability to account for future growth prospects.
4.3) Size and Weight Restrictions
Logistics companies often place restrictions on the size and shape of products that would be moved by them. The restrictions are likely to become a hindrance for a business if its product portfolio includes items that are unconventional in their proportions. Therefore, it is important that businesses understand the need for their products and choose a logistics company for their businesses that has the capability to deliver such items to their destination.
4.4) Types of Services Offered
Different logistics companies often offer different services. When choosing a logistics service provider, it is important to understand what type of services are required by the enterprise and look for logistics solutions that cater to such needs. Logistics companies must be chosen on the basis of such requirements being fulfilled.
As different logistics companies provide different services, they also specialize in certain solutions. When businesses are looking at logistics companies as partners for their operations, it is advisable that they consider providers who specialize in solutions that help their needs directly. Should a company partner with a solutions provider that specializes in a domain that impacts the operations of an enterprise directly, the operations are likely to become more efficient.
4.6) Value-Added Services
Value-added services are a category of solutions that are supplementary to the flagship solutions of a provider. Businesses often overlook them; however, they are an important addition to the services availed by an enterprise. VASs provide companies with additional services that often make the process of logistics more efficient and cost-effective.
4.7) Reverse Logistics
The process of managing returning products has become critical to businesses, especially since the advent of online commerce. Customers often return products if they do not like them or find them different from what they expected. Therefore, in a cutthroat market, businesses need to provide logistics services to their
4.8) Shipping Exceptions Management
Shipping exceptions or stuck shipments are incidents where an item is stalled in transit while being sent to its destination. Exceptions may occur for various reasons, including weather conditions, incorrect information, issues with the route, or perhaps even issues with personnel handling the shipment. Ideally, businesses must look for partners who have a mechanism in place to deal with stuck shipments and have maintained a low rate of exceptions throughout their years of operations.
4.9) Previous Performance
A business's past performance provides insight into its capabilities and allows clients to understand if the partnership would be fruitful. Therefore, whenever companies look for logistics partners, they must look at all prospective partners' reviews and previous clientele. Through research and understanding, businesses would know if a particular logistics company is reliable or not.
5. Final thoughts
The logistics industry is responsible for supporting several sectors in the economy of the USA. From manufacturing and materials handling to eCommerce, the logistics industry is essential for the survival and growth of the US economy. Owing to the large area, third-largest population, and high spending power of the country, the number of options available in the US for logistics operations is abundant. Unfortunately, this makes it easy for businesses to get confused and partner with unsuitable companies. This article has aimed to provide an understanding of the best options available in the US and how companies must select an ideal logistics company.