What is the Difference Between a 3PL vs 4PL?

We often get asked if Universal Traffic Service is a 3PL or 4PL. To answer that question, we first will explain the differences between a 3PL versus a 4PL, then we will describe where we see ourselves in this comparison. Please scroll down to learn more.

What Does a 3PL Logistics Company Do?

A third-party logistics provider, or 3PL, manages a solution for a specific part of a shipper’s supply chain. This management can occur at the operational level or at the strategic level.

Sometimes, a 3PL company functions at both the operational level and the strategic level. A good example is an asset-based logistics provider. It uses its own transportation equipment to move a portion of the shipper’s freight. The rest is outsourced to other carriers.

What Does a 4PL Logistics Company Do?

A fourth party logistics company manages all outside resources used to fulfill a shipper’s supply chain, end to end. These resources can include 3PLs, carriers, warehouses, brokers, forwarders and other providers.

Shippers that employ a 4PL often give it direct control over the resources in its network, including 3PLs. When that happens, the 4PL is called the Lead Logistics Provider, or LLP.

What is the main difference between a 3PL provider and a 4PL provider? A 4PL manages the entire supply chain, while a 3PL focuses on just one piece of that supply chain.

You Might be a 4PL

Does your company manage multiple logistics providers? 

If so, then you are acting as your own 4PL. 

3PL Logistics
play-filled-altright-iconManages Part of Supply Chain
play-filled-altright-iconPersonalized Scope of Service
play-filled-altright-iconCompliments In-House Management Team
4PL Logistics
play-filled-altright-iconManages Entire Supply Chain
play-filled-altright-icon360° Scope of Service
play-filled-altright-iconReplaces In-House Management Team
play-filled-altright-iconLead Logistics Provider (LLP) Relationship

So, is UTS a 3PL or 4PL?

Many of our clients act as their own 4PLs. In these partnerships, UTS functions as a full-service 3PL within the scope of transportation management entrusted to us.

Some clients, however, have reached a point where transportation management outsourced logistics have grown too complex to handle internally. Being a full-service provider means we can perform more as a 4PL when it adds value to the partnership.

Within our comprehensive transportation management system (TMS), we offer integration capabilities, strategic advisory and analytical services. These equip us to achieve the key responsibilities of a 4PL. Our services offer:

What You Get with Universal Traffic Service’s 3PL Service

We utilize our own online tools that give your company a competitive advantage. We provide you with better logistics, visibility, analytics and control in real time. We also offer options for system integrations, which opens a world of opportunities for strategic supply chain savings. We have integration information services including:

Gain Access to Free 3PL Freight Software

As a UTS partner, you gain access to our free transportation management system. There are no fees, and our team of professionals handle all the updates and maintenance. Our online tools help you see, measure and analyze every aspect of your transportation activity. This gives you a competitive advantage in that you have more control over your supply chain.

A partnership with UTS makes your transportation data:

Why Choose UTS As Your 3PL Transportation Management Provider?

​​Universal Traffic Service is the first logistics service company to build a supply chain management (SCM) platform that meets all your needs.

Our independent approach to supply chain management allows us to:

In addition to gaining access to our robust TMS, we offer supply chain management consulting. As your supply chain partner, we fulfill an advisory role, helping you budget, anticipate and plan supply chain outcomes.

Advisory projects include:

Learn how UTS can become your 3PL, serving you across North America.

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