William K. Turner
William K. Turner

Discovering International 3PLs: A Comprehensive Guide

5 min read

Published on: Jan 17, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 22, 2024

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Are you a business owner who wants to expand your market reach to international customers? Or do you want to improve your customer reach and optimize your supply chain?

You may have heard of International 3PL, but what is it, and how can it benefit your business? 

In this guide, we will explain everything you need to know about International 3PL, from how it works to its advantages to its implementation.

So, let's dive into this guide to discover more!

What is International Third Party Logistics (3PL)?

Third-party logistics (3PL) is a term that refers to the outsourcing of logistics and supply chain management functions to an external service provider. International 3PL extends these services to the global scale. 

The International 3PL providers offer a range of services, such as warehousing, transportation, inventory management, and order fulfillment on an international level. 

This allows streamlined e-commerce fulfillment operations, reduces costs, and focuses on their core competencies. 

The Role of International 3PL Providers

International 3PL providers play a vital role in facilitating and optimizing your international logistics operations. 

They can offer different levels of service, depending on your needs and preferences, such as:

  • Standard Service: This is the basic level of service that involves performing the core logistics functions, such as transportation, warehousing, and distribution, according to your specifications and requirements.
  • Value-Added Services: This is the intermediate level of service that involves adding extra features or benefits to the core logistics functions, such as packaging, labeling, kitting, assembly, quality control, and more.
  • Strategic Service: This is the advanced level of service that involves collaborating with you to design, plan, implement, and monitor your entire supply chain. It also includes consulting, analytics, and optimization solutions to achieve your strategic goals and objectives.

How Does an International 3PL Work?

By outsourcing these functions to an international 3PL provider, you can benefit from their expertise, network, and economies of scale. 

But how does an international 3PL work?

Here are some key steps that the best 3PL companies follow to provide you with a seamless and efficient logistics solution.

Step 1: Warehousing Storage

An international 3PL provider will provide you with secure and convenient storage space for your products in their warehouses and distribution centers. 

They will store your products according to industry standards and best practices. They will also offer value-added services such as temperature control, security systems, inventory audits, and quality checks.

Step 2: Inventory Management

They will help you manage your inventory across multiple locations and channels worldwide. They will track your stock levels, monitor your sales performance, and forecast your demand. 

They will also help you optimize your inventory turnover ratio and avoid overstocking or understocking issues.

Step 3: Supply Chain Consulting

An international 3PL provider will offer you strategic advice on how to improve your supply chain performance and efficiency. 

They will analyze your current processes and identify areas for improvement or optimization. They will also implement solutions such as automation, integration, data analytics, or sustainability practices.

Step 4: Order Fulfillment

They will handle the entire order fulfillment process from receiving orders from your customers to delivering them to their doorsteps.

They will pick, pack, label, and ship your products according to your specifications and preferences. They will also handle returns and exchanges if needed.

Step 5: Handling Transportation

An international 3PL provider is responsible for arranging the transportation and international shipping of your products from their warehouses or distribution centers to their customers’ locations. 

They will choose the best mode of transportation (such as air freight or sea freight) based on factors such as cost, speed, reliability, and environmental impact. 

They will also handle the customs clearance requirements for importing or exporting goods.

An international 3PL works by taking care of all or part of your logistics needs while allowing you to focus on growing your business. 

Expert Tip

Check out this blog on the 3PL fulfillment process if you want to know more about it. 

Benefits of Working With an International 3PL

Let's take a look at some of the key benefits of choosing an international 3PL for your business:

Cost and Time-Saving

Trusting an international 3PL for your logistics needs will not only save you time but money as well. 

By partnering with an experienced provider, you can free up your staff to work on different areas of the business. 

Furthermore, they usually have access to better pricing, such as shipping or packaging materials. So, by utilizing these discounts, you can reduce costs even further!

Enhanced Productivity

A good international 3PL provider can streamline your order fulfillment process and increase efficiency. This is especially beneficial when dealing with multiple warehouses or countries.

An international 3PL provider can easily manage multiple inventory locations in different regions and countries without issues. 

In addition, most reputable international 3PL providers use software systems that enable them to track orders quickly. It reduces the risk of errors or delays in fulfilling orders. 


Another benefit of working with a third-party logistics company is flexibility. It's easy for international 3PL providers to adjust their operations when needed. This allows you to scale up or down based on changes in demand easily. 

Additionally, they also offer customization, packaging design, branding, labeling, kitting/bundling, etc. It can help set your company apart from its competitors.  

Tap Into Industry Expertise

With an international 3PL provider, you gain access to experts who understand the industry inside and out. These professionals have years of experience managing complex supply chains. 

They know how best to handle any situation that may arise during order fulfillment. With their help, you can rest assured that your shipments will always arrive on time! 

So there you have it!

International 3PL providers help simplify your supply chain and reduce the costs of warehousing, shipping, and order fulfillment. They elevate the burden of shipment and let you focus on improving your business. 

If you are looking for the perfect 3PL partner, search no further. 3PL Fulfillment and Prep is here to help! 

We are the premier international warehousing, order fulfillment, and shipping solutions provider. We take pride in providing customers with cost-efficient services designed specifically for their business. 

We can be your fulfillment partner and make the process easier for you!

Our team of professionals provides quality customer service. We ensure the safety of your products throughout the shipping process. 

By utilizing 3PL Fulfillment and Prep, your logistic operations are guaranteed to run smoothly. 

So why hesitate? Take advantage of our services at 3PL Fulfillment and Prep to help ensure the success of your business!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the largest 3PL in the world?

According to a report by Armstrong & Associates, the largest 3PL in the world by gross logistics revenue in 2023 is, Kuehne + Nagel, with $46.9 billion. 

What is the role of 3PL in international trade?

An international 3PL can offer services such as warehousing, packaging, freight forwarding, and customs clearance. This helps expand the customer base on an international level.


William K. Turner


William K. Turner (Supply Chain Management)

Willian K. Turner, our esteemed author with expertise in International Trade, Global Logistics, and Supply Chain Management, has a lot to offer when it comes to writing about these topics. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with readers. Whether he's writing blog posts or articles his insights will be surely valuable to anyone interested in these industries.

Willian K. Turner, our esteemed author with expertise in International Trade, Global Logistics, and Supply Chain Management, has a lot to offer when it comes to writing about these topics. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with readers. Whether he's writing blog posts or articles his insights will be surely valuable to anyone interested in these industries.

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