To help mitigate potential capacity shortage, shippers are turning to 3PLs to help cover lanes that otherwise would be difficult to fill. If you are looking to partner with, or currently use, a 3PL provider, there are some guidelines that will help you leverage the most out of your 3PL relationship.
Perhaps the first is to choose your partner carefully. Until recently, access to the internet and $10,000 was all it took to get a broker surety bond and become a transportation broker. However, Congress recently passed a piece of legislation that raises the surety bond price to $75,000, effective in the summer of 2013. This is good news for shippers as the new requirements will likely be too high for fraudulent brokers to acquire a new surety bond. However, do your homework. Ask for customer references and a work history before entering into an agreement with any 3PL. If the company has been in business less than two years, consider looking for an alternative. The Transportation Intermediaries Association is a great place to look for qualified, legitimate 3PLs as TIA requires all members to abide by a strict code of ethics when dealing with carriers and shippers.
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Keywords: 3PL, third party logistics, supply chain risk management, guidelines for choosing a 3PL