Best fulfillment companies: The best 3PLs and 4PLs for eCommerce and retail brands

a man shaking hands with another man and a shipping truck full of boxes

Customer expectations for shopping experiences are higher than ever. Fast, reliable, and trackable deliveries are just some of the perks customers assume as standard. These assumptions have become so mainstream that 42% of shoppers leave their carts due to issues with the estimated delivery date, while 24% abandon orders due to no delivery date provided.

As you step into your next growth phase, having an extra pair of hands can ensure your fulfillment and supply chain run smoothly. That’s where 3PLs and 4PLs come in. We’ve compiled a list of top-performing providers for eCommerce and retail brands to help you find your business match. Before we dive in though, let’s clear up some definitions.

What’s a 3PL?

A third-party logistics (3PL) provider handles fulfillment-related tasks that eCommerce brands outsource, including warehousing, inventory management, picking and packing, shipping, and returns.

What’s a 4PL?

A fourth-party logistics (4PL) provider covers the same tasks as a 3PL but also takes care of the entire supply chain, including freight booking, legal and customs clearance, reverse logistics, and other tasks.

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3PLs vs. 4PLs

The difference between a 3PL and a 4PL lies in the tasks they handle within a supply chain. A 3PL is limited to a set list of duties so the eCommerce business maintains most of the control over their supply chain. With a 4PL, the company hands over the responsibility for managing their entire supply chain.

(If you want a breakdown of the benefits of working with a 3PL, check out our blog post on the topic here.)

Top 3PLs

XPO Logistics

XPO is a large-capacity logistics provider specializing in Truckload (TL) and Less Than a Truckload (LTL) shipments. They use cutting-edge technology to formulate optimal carrier volume and capability. XPO also offers services such as truck brokerage, last mile, expedited, and global forwarding.

Service highlights: TL, LTL, and temperature-controlled shipping

Best for: Businesses requiring road transportation

APL Logistics

APL Logistics prides themselves on simplifying complex fulfillment processes and making them seamless. Through services such as global shipping, distribution, and order management, plus visibility through analytics, they build streamlined systems to move goods from point A to point B efficiently.

Service highlights: End-to-end fulfillment solutions, socially responsible practices, global offices in more than 60 locations, over 100 years of experience

Best for: Brands with complex supply chains and fulfillment requirements

Americold

Some fulfillment providers shy away from transporting fragile, temperature-controlled items, but Americold takes the task head-on. During their 120 years in business, Americold has mastered the art of shipping and storing specialized goods safely, sustaining them with purpose-built transportation, warehousing, and integrated technology. So, whether you’re a retailer, producer, or food service provider, Americold has what you need for worry-free logistics.

Service highlights: Temperature-controlled warehousing and transport, storage for fragile items

Best for: Businesses selling perishable goods

Imperial Logistics

Shipping goods across Africa? Partnering with Imperial Logistics could be a wise move.

Tap into the company’s growing strategic partnerships and geographies. What’s more, Imperial Logistics also offers a unified route-to-market solution for their clients that incorporates shipping, warehousing, distribution, and supply chain management.

If you’re looking for a team to take the stock purchasing process off your hands, Imperial Logistics can execute this for you as well. Fulfillment with a purpose is important to this 3PL provider, so you can pride yourself on partnering with a company that regularly donates resources to charitable causes around the globe.

Service highlights: Diverse industry experience, comprehensive fulfillment, and supply chain management services for Sub-Saharan Africa

Best for: Brands with cross-border sales from or stores in Africa

Landstar

Living up to their name, Landstar is a widely connected, safety-focused shipping company specializing in land transportation. Boasting an extensive workforce of 1,200 agents, 11,000 leased-owner operators, 18,000 trucks, and 90,000 approved trailer capacity providers, Landstar has everything you need to transport goods overland securely. They also offer land shipping services globally.

Service highlights: Flexible logistics, integrated transportation, safety-first practices

Best for: Businesses with fragile and high-value goods

Penske Logistics

Shipping goods that require refrigeration or freezing? Consider partnering with Penske. They have extensive experience hauling food and boast state-of-the-art technology to back it up.

Penske remains competitive in their offering too. From contract carriage and supply chain management to transport management and freight brokerage solutions, Penske maintains an impressive supply of services to keep your inventory cold.

Service highlights: Vast service capabilities, tech-enabled, data-backed supply chain management

Best for: Businesses selling perishable items

Mainfreight

Global logistics provider Mainfreight is on a mission to help their customers construct dependable and efficient supply chain logistics. Combining air, ocean, and land shipping with warehousing and technology, Mainfreight provides effective, complete logistics.

The company is a visionary, relying on a 100-year strategy that shapes everything from their recruitment and culture to their growth tactics.

Service highlights: Large workforce with over 11,000 team members, 44 years in business, ships to 26 countries, end-to-end supply chain management, 315 branches globally

Best for: Businesses that want to outsource control of their supply chain management

ShipBob

ShipBob is an omnichannel fulfillment provider specifically for e-tailers and retailers.

So, if you ship orders from Canada, the UK, the U.S., or Australia, look into ShipBob’s global network to fuel your cross-border expansion.

The company offers various services to help brands scale their fulfillment capacity with their growth. These include receiving goods, pick-and-pack capabilities, and order customization.

ShipBob also provides apps and APIs for smooth integration to help you build a powerhouse tech stack.

Service highlights: Custom pricing, extensive shipping territory (to over 220 countries), strategic integrations, proprietary apps, and APIs

Best for: eCommerce startups ready to scale

Omni Logistics

From freight forwarding to distribution and storage, Omni Logistics steps up to the plate with a diverse range of services spanning the entire supply chain. Whether you need help with trade show logistics, white glove logistics, relocation, customs, or compliance, Omni Logistics’ flexible approach to fulfillment makes them a solid candidate.

They also have expertise in many industries and can customize solutions for retail, eCommerce, tech, healthcare, and more.

Service highlights: Flexible approach to fulfillment, a diverse range of offerings, customizable services, cost-effective

Best for: Brands needing specialized fulfillment or those that want customized fulfillment solutions

Red Stag Fulfillment

Shipping large orders cost-effectively, safely, and quickly can be challenging for even the most experienced shipping company. But for Red Stag, their services allow them to excel at it.

Red Stag understands the importance of creating a fantastic customer experience through your fulfillment and is dedicated to providing seamless service to keep those almighty five-star reviews rolling in. Their services include warehousing, kitting and assembly, and pick and pack, and Red Stag integrates with many major eCommerce platforms as well.

Service highlights: Specialization in shipping heavy and bulky items, accommodation for goods that need special attention and handling, cloud-backed solutions, omnichannel fulfillment

Best for: B2B and B2C retailers and eCommerce brands selling wholesale or large items

ShipNetwork

ShipNetwork (formerly Rakuten) offers fast ground shipping (as quick as one to two days) at low rates for 98% of the U.S. Pick from a host of 3PL services, including freight, one-day order fulfillment, returns management, and kitting, as well as specialized services like temperature-controlled shipping.

ShipNetwork cares about doing the job right — so much so, they guarantee 100% accuracy along with U.S.-based support to keep fulfillment on track.

Service highlights: U.S.-based fulfillment services, fast shipping

Best for: Brands that sell only in the U.S.

Radial

Great customer experience through fine-tuned logistics is Radial’s specialty. This fulfillment expert offers tailored solutions for eCommerce solutions that scale with your brand.

Services span transport and fulfillment management. Some of the perks you receive as a Radial client include extended holiday cutoffs, actionable reports and analytics, and an expansive carrier network to simplify management.

Service highlights: Personalized eCommerce fulfillment, customer-centric services

Best for: Growth and customer-focused eCommerce brands

Shipwire

Shipwire isn’t just another fulfillment provider focused on shipping products; they care about their customers’ growth and actively support it. On top of logistics and warehousing services, Shipwire offers a cloud-based order and inventory management platform, live intelligence tools, and customizable reporting.

Clients can also integrate with popular sales channels, and hands-free parcel routing for each order ensures optimal shipping times (all of which the system manages).

Service highlights: Full-service fulfillment, insight-backed approach, global shipping

Best for: Retail and eCommerce brands

AFS Logistics

AFS’ secret to success lies in their data: Having managed $11 billion in transportation transactions, they’ve transformed the insights gleaned from this experience into actionable strategy. Their data-led approach has also enabled AFS to secure $183 million in savings for their clients.

This 3PL provider can help you with LTL, TL, express, and ground shipping, as well as parcel and freight audits. If your company prioritizes insights, AFS could be a strong match.

Service highlights: Cost-effective services, transportation management solutions, parcel and LTL solutions

Best for: Data-focused brands and businesses looking for a complete suite of supply chain services

AIT Worldwide Logistics

AIT is a global freight forwarder offering flexible and cost-effective fulfillment services like intermodal, ground distribution, and warehouse management. Sustainability is important to AIT, so they pursue shipping options with less of an environmental impact. If you need help balancing the books for your supply chain, the company also provides lending assistance.

Service highlights: Supply chain finance and auditing, fulfillment, warehousing, chain cold transportation, import/export customs assistance, reverse logistics, green logistics

Best for: Brands looking for flexible and environmentally friendly fulfillment options

Capacity

Capacity focuses on helping brands pick, pack, and ship goods. This commerce-focused 3PL has value-added services and efficient transportation options, as well as warehousing within carriers’ commercial zones across Europe and the U.S. for swift collection.

Service highlights: eCommerce and retail specialization

Best for: Retail and eCommerce startups

Fulfyld

This 3PL eCommerce provider boasts strong warehousing and distribution. Fulfyld helps budding online stores streamline their order fulfillment and back-end processes for a two-day delivery window that’ll delight customers.

The 3PL also offers specialized services such as omnichannel fulfillment, B2B distribution, Amazon SFP and FBA Prep, crowdfunding fulfillment, and subscription box management. As a bonus, Fulfyld assigns a dedicated account manager to each client.

Service highlights: Two-day delivery guarantee, extensive range of fulfillment types, returns management, subscription box management

Best for: eCommerce businesses of all sizes

FedEx

If you need flexible fulfillment assistance for your in-house operations, FedEx can help. Offering efficient packaging options, an accommodating pickup schedule, and delivery seven days a week, you’ll quickly gain a handle on your back-end operations.

FedEx’s global coverage and affordable rates also make cost-effective freight accessible for even the smallest of operations.

Service highlights: Global shipping, seven-day home delivery fulfillment, extensive knowledge bank

Best for: Startups with in-house fulfillment setups, fluctuating order volume, and global following

C.H Robinson

C.H Robinson is a 3PL and Fortune 200 company that combines robust logistics solutions and high-spec technology to create optimized supply chains. Their longstanding carrier relationships and global network allow them to achieve competitive rates up to 15% less than what’s offered on the market.

C.H. Robinson excels in helping businesses digitally transform their back-end operations, leading to the provider being named in two Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ reports for TMS and live visibility platforms.

Service highlights: Proprietary bidding system, on-demand freight services, transport management, and brokerage, freight forwarding, and live tracking systems, plus over 85,000 carriers and 100,000 customers

Best for: Established eCommerce and retail brands

Fourth-party logistics companies (4PLs)

MyFBAPrep

MyFBAPrep is a flexible fulfillment provider offering a full suite of fulfillment services for DTC, marketplace, and omnichannel brands, including picking, packing, shipping, and returns.

For value-added services, MyFBAPrep has you covered, with solutions including product kitting, pallet bagging, sorting and segregation, subscription box creation, and co-packing. Also, through their proprietary inventory management, Preptopia®, MyFBAPrep helps their clients spot both problems and opportunities while establishing direct communication with their warehouses. MyFBAPrep also works as a partner for 3PLs and 4PLs.

Service highlights: Expansive warehousing (over 50 locations globally), value-added services, transparent and fair pricing

Best for: Scaling eCommerce and omnichannel brands, 3PL and 4PL partnerships

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Maersk

Maersk is a world-renowned integrated container shipping and logistics provider. Their digital approach to supply chain management, extensive industry experience, and global service has allowed them to build an impressive reputation in the transport and logistics industry.

You can also secure instant prices and custom quotes through their website. In addition to digital and transportation solutions, Maersk provides risk, insurance, and payment solutions.

Service highlights: Integrated container logistics and supply chain services, digital supply chain and customer order management, financial services

Best for: Established brands going global

XPO Logistics

XPO is a 4PL provider specializing in TL and LTL road shipping. Focused on efficiency, this service employs advanced technology to streamline processes and make tracking deliveries easy. Services include expedited global forwarding, last mile, and managed transportation. If you’re ready for your goods to hit the road, give XPO a call.

Service highlights: Trucker brokerage, LTL, and TL transporting

Best for: Companies looking for road transportation of goods

Kuehne+Nagel

An experienced 4PL provider, Kuehne+Nagel combines cutting-edge technology with their extensive supply chain expertise to drive efficiency and cost-savings for their clients.

Services include sea, land, and air freight forwarding, as well as contract logistics. Data guides Kuehne+Nagel’s every move, and IT architecture integrates with more than 40 technological solutions for seamless insight sharing and supply chain visibility.

The company’s efforts have paid off, earning the title of “most visionary leader” in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for 3PL Logistics in 2022.

Service highlights: End-to-end supply chain management, including transportation, order management, and fulfillment consulting

Best for: Brands needing to simplify and digitize their entire supply chain

ShipHero

ShipHero is a modern 4PL focused on making shipping easier for eCommerce brands. Whether you opt to outsource your entire supply chain or want to cherry-pick fulfillment solutions, ShipHero can support your business needs.

They offer a wide range of fulfillment services, including mobile pick and pack, B2B order fulfillment, putaway, order and return management, and inventory management. ShipHero has warehouses across the U.S. and provides a warehouse management system clients can subscribe to for end-to-end visibility.

Service highlights: Expansive carrier network, experienced eCommerce fulfillment providers, tech-backed

Best for: DTC eCommerce brands

DSV

As a growth-focused 4PL provider, DSV helps brands large and small scale sustainably with their 75,000-strong team. DSV offers global transport and logistics by road, air, sea, and rail freight, plus solutions like warehouse management, purchase order management, and distribution.

One feature that sets DSV apart is their self-service tool: Aside from requesting quotes, you can manage POs, book shipments online, track and manage products in your business ecosystem, and more. So, whether you’re looking for a 4PL to take over the entire supply chain management process or want to manage everything yourself, DSV can help.

Service highlights: Self-service tools, large skilled workforce, accommodations for various growth stages

Best for: Retail and eCommerce businesses of all sizes

Nippon Express

Boasting 739 locations in over 49 countries and regions, Nippon Express has the connections and infrastructure necessary to ship goods internationally without breaking the bank. Choose from air, sea, rail, or road freight or a combination to create your optimal shipping journey.

This 4PL provider also boasts specialized transportation such as fine arts moving, cross-border fulfillment, and heavy goods, construction, and halal logistics.

Nippon Express caters to many industries spanning fashion and retail to food and electronics. So, if you need supply chain management, global transport services, and warehouse and distribution solutions rolled into one, Nippon Express is a great option.

Service highlights: International coverage, specialty shipping, extensive industry-type experience

Best for: Brands needing global supply chain services or having special shipping requirements

Schneider

Schneider is committed to helping their clients “get and stay ahead” by offering one of the largest ranges of logistics services. This 4PL serves both shippers and carriers through services such as dry van truckload, intermodal, bulk, refrigerated, flatbed, and LTL shipping.

They also provide a trademarked online marketplace where businesses can find carriers and services, obtain instant quotes, and access shipping documents on demand.

Service highlights: TL, intermodal, cross-border freight, brokerage, cross-dock logistics, supply chain management, and port logistics

Best for: Brands that want more control over managing logistics

Logistics Plus

Dubbed a 21st-century logistics company, Logistics Plus focuses on executing tasks with precision to drive customer satisfaction. The 4PL provider maintains a broad range of services covering transportation, global freight forwarding, customs and compliance, Importer of Record services, warehousing, and 3.5PL and 4PL. Their dedication is recognized in the industry, with Inbound Logistics magazine naming Logistics Plus a 2022 Top 100 3PL.

Service highlights: Specialized shipping setups, warehousing, international, project cargo, supply chain solutions, warehousing, fulfillment installation

Best for: Brands anticipating high growth

Hellmann Worldwide Logistics

Hellmann Worldwide Logistics is an experienced fulfillment provider that’s been in the industry for 150 years and counting.

Their services span rail, road, and sea freight, as well as contract and perishable logistics, special services, and customs brokerage. If you need specific industry experience, there‘s a strong chance Hellmann has it. Some of the industries they serve are fashion, consumer goods, and perishable items.

Service highlights: CEP services, customs brokerage, perishable goods logistics

Best for: Brands needing various shipping types and fulfillment services

Hub Group

Hub Group is a technologically advanced trucking 4PL with strengths in eCommerce and B2B. They offer end-to-end supply chain services and a strong omnichannel fulfillment network. Hub Group will partner with you to customize your solutions and provide tech tools to establish supply chain visibility.

This 4PL is all about trucking, so their shipping solutions include intermodal, dedicated trucking, and truck brokerage.

Service highlights: eCommerce and B2B omnichannel fulfillment network, supply chain management, tech-backed, consolidation, final mile fulfillment

Best for: Brands seeking a straightforward fulfillment option

J.B. Hunt

4PL J.B. Hunt empowers their clients to win with a tech-, people-, and capacity-focused approach. Utilizing self-service and done-for-you solutions, J.B. Hunt creates supply chain strategies that give their customers a competitive edge.

Aside from their catalog of fulfillment services, clients can access the company’s Shipper 360™ and Shipper 360™ purpose-built shipping solutions, which simplify the ordering process and provide transparent supply chain visibility.

Service highlights: Intermodal, flatbed, temperature-controlled, international, and expedited shipping, plus managed logistics

Best for: Brands focused on digital transformation

LynnCo

LynnCo takes supply chain management best practices seriously. Leveraging technology, their experienced task force, and innovative strategies, they craft and execute procedures for well-oiled operations.

The 4PL helps customers identify the source of disruptions in their supply chains to construct tailored solutions and strategies for optimal performance.

The hands-free nature of their services combined with their great track record make LynnCo a great match for enterprises hoping to offload all their supply chain management tasks.

Service highlights: Supply chain management, digitization, and consultation

Best for: Enterprises that want to outsource supply chain tasks entirely

CJ Logistics

Formerly DSC Logistics, CJ Logistics isn’t your average fulfillment provider. They feature engineering and consulting services to help their clients build well-optimized supply chains and customized operations.

To set their customers up for long-term success, this 4PL offers supply chain packaging, greenfield warehouse execution, warehousing engineering and automation, and other critical services. CJ Logistics also has experience with managing eCommerce and omnichannel fulfillment, so you’ll feel confident they know what they’re doing.

Service highlights: Supply chain engineering, intermodal and integrated logistics

Best for: Brands seeking customized supply chain solutions

CSX

In their 190 years of operation, CSX has been through many transformations, from horse-drawn rail cars to their present-day fast, brand-owned railroading. At their core, CSX has always maintained a commitment to improving customer service, controlling costs, optimizing asset utilization, and making a positive impact on the community.

These days, CSX focuses on helping their clients transport goods efficiently in North America, Canada, and, soon, Pan America by rail. So, if you’re looking for experts in rail transport, CSX could be your match.

Service highlights: Rail-to-truck, intermodal, and rail logistics

Best for: Brands seeking pureplay rail transportation

Wrapping up — Find your right fulfillment partner

Bookmark this article as your go-to list of 3PL and 4PL providers for eCommerce and omnichannel businesses. With our trove of recommendations, streamlined fulfillment is within your grasp. Research the options in this list and decide whether a 3PL or 4PL is right for your business needs.

Then, dive deeper into the different 4PL and 3PL providers that fit your requirements and set up meetings to start your move.

Let us know what 3PL and 4PL options you would add to this list and why.