Integrating 3PL in urban logistics organization


  • Chanut Odile
  • Paché Gilles


  • City logistics
  • Europe
  • Pooling
  • Retailing industry
  • Third party logistics 3PL
  • Urban goods distribution

document type



This article examines the evolution of supply networks as influenced by urban logistics, from the point of view of third party logistics (3PL) companies. 3PL are the firms which have facilitated the development of large retailers for thirty years by offering them highly complex systems of warehouses and platforms to supply stores efficiently. 3PL also initiated sophisticated logistical techniques to reduce stocks in store while controlling order picking costs. Their major strength is the achievement of significant economies of scale through resource sharing for several large retailers, resulting in ever larger warehousing infrastructures. As they developed pooling expertise early on, 3PL could acquire a prominent position in the emerging market in city logistics, in which local authorities are highly involved, a perspective that can only be considered if 3PL are able to develop a first mover advantage.

more information