Eye Amazon Effect
June 1, 2021
COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ways shippers and 3PLs connect with last-mile
transportation providers. Many shippers and third-party logistics (3PL)
companies formed new strategic partnerships in the face of these changes to
combat same-day delivery expectations fueled by the “Amazon Effect” during
That was the conclusion of a new whitepaper entitled
The Age of Amazon: Why 3PLs & Last-Mile Delivery Fleets
Must Draw Closer. The whitepaper is a joint project of the Customized
Logistics & Delivery Association (CLDA), the trade association for final-mile
delivery companies, and the Transport Intermediaries Association (TIA), the
voice of the 3PL industry.
“The last-mile sector has growing opportunities for 3PLs to broaden their menu
of supply chain services by creating partnerships with local fleets operated by
CLDA members. That’s why we partnered with TIA to create this whitepaper and
offer it to every member of the supply chain,” said Steve Howard, president of
“The final-mile logistics is an important relationship for our members and is a
multi-billion-dollar industry that plays an integral role in the supply-chain,
noted Anne Reinke, TIA President & CEO TIA “We brought together the expertise of
the two associations’ members as well as industry analysts to highlight that
relationship and to pinpoint trends where 3PLs and last-mile delivery providers
can join together to compete against Amazon’s market dominance.”
The whitepaper points to four areas where these two players in the supply
chain can and have worked together to meet the increasing demands of consumers.
E-Commerce: With people spending more time at home during the
pandemic, online sales increased by 44% in 2020 to reach 21.3% of total retail
sales. Delivery of heavy goods purchased through e-commerce channels is an area
of opportunity the whitepaper cites for fleets that can meet specialized
delivery requirements such as setup and reverse logistics for items such as
medical devices, exercise, and home office equipment.
Medical Lab Logistics: Laboratory tests for blood and tissue samples are
conducted 13 billion times a year in the United States and have time-sensitive
and specialized handling and delivery requirements. Last-mile providers have
seen their medical business increase significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic,
including work transporting vaccines with hospital networks.
B2B: Freight opportunities in the B2B last-mile sector abound for
pallet-sized LTL freight and heavier items that have unique service requirements
such as after-hour deliveries to business and residential customers. These are
best met by a combination of 3PL and last-mile providers. Motor carriers and
3PLs are chasing opportunities in the last-mile of this sector to offer blended
warehousing and delivery services that smooth order fulfillment for customers
that experienced supply chain disruptions from COVID-19.
Special Projects: Last-mile fleets that operate facilities near large
urban centers, like New York City, are seeing demand increase from shippers,
3PLs, and motor carriers to utilize their local delivery services. These
customers are dropping off large-volume truckload and LTL shipments at their
docks. Last-mile carriers separate volume loads into smaller shipments and make
urban deliveries on repeat schedules, such as distributing shipments to retail
Drawing on the expertise of industry analysts and members of both
associations, the whitepaper also identified a number of additional facts about
the supply chain:
the United States, approximately 15,000 registered 3PLs generate about $90B in
annual revenue primarily by managing truckload and LTL freight transactions.
The fourth quarter of 2020 was the strongest in the history of the last-mile
Last-mile fleets serviced 21% more stops in 2020 than in 2019.
Much of the growth came after the April 2020 pandemic dip to reach a total of
one-half billion delivery stops by year’s end across more than two dozen
Overall, the last-mile delivery market in North America is expected to reach
$44.88 billion from 2020 to 2024 at a compound annual growth rate of over 14%.
Amazon continues its dominance as the world’s largest third-party logistics
(3PL) provider, reaching 60% market share in the U.S.
Amazon currently delivers to 72% of all Prime customers within 24 hours.