2018 Top 20 warehouses

Modern’s look at the largest 3PL and refrigerated facilities by size shows continued strength for both markets.

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A look at the third-party logistics (3PL) market shows that e-commerce remains the driving force behind growth and change, and this pattern is expected to continue, according to 3PL consultancy and market research firm Armstrong & Associates, who compiles the list of Top 20 North American 3PLs.

And although Amazon is synonymous with e-commerce, it does not appear on the list of the Top 20 North American 3PLs. The companies on this list, unlike the notoriously secretive Amazon, have either provided square footage information or enough public information for Armstrong & Associates to make a reasonable estimate. Nevertheless, Dick Armstrong, chair of Armstrong & Associates, says Amazon wields plenty of influence on the 3PL market.

“We’re tracking them, and there’s no doubt about it: They are in the 3PL business in a lot of what they do,” he says. “Anywhere they want to move, they’re the 800-pound gorilla. They just move there. Everyone is talking about e-commerce now, and Amazon has moved the market a lot in that direction with things like home delivery and same-day delivery.”

From an operations perspective, Armstrong sees 3PLs moving toward automated load acceptance as they continue to digitize load management. In the coming years, he predicts it will become increasingly common for shippers to list loads electronically. Pre-qualified carriers can then access the list and accept a load. The load will still be tendered in the real world, but the transaction will be maintained as part of that software, Armstrong says, which will track the load from end to end at all critical stages.

Before long, he suggests, as much as 80% of loads will be handled that way, as compared to the current 20% to 30% at best. The upshot for transportation managers, Armstrong adds, is that automated load management will enable each person to effectively handle four to five times as many loads as they are now.

“Small brokerage companies have a lot of hands-on work, lots of Excel spreadsheets, whereas bigger operations use electronic load management to automate better than 90% of the less-than-truckload business,” Armstrong says. “Companies above $20 million in gross revenue will be climbing this path, but those below will have a lot of difficulty, and I see a lot of them disappearing.”

Armstrong notes greater diversity as companies expand their technological capabilities as well as geographic coverage.

“The building and development of new warehouses has been pretty robust,” he says. “But in Southern California, New Jersey near New York, around Dallas Fort Worth, in those areas it is really difficult to find space. It’s a tight market.”

Top 20 North American Warehousing 3PLs

(Ranked by warehousing square footage within North America)

3PL provider
Warehouse square feet (Millons)*

Number of
warehouses

Headquarters


119.0
417
Westerville, OH


83.7
400
Greenwich, CT


50.0
207
Miami, FL


42.9
168
Brentwood, TN


41.5
130
Cherry Hill, NJ


37.0
142
Atlanta, GA


35.4
127
Cranberry Township, PA


26.0
114
Irvine, CA


25.0
80
Chattanooga, TN


25.0
56
Des Plaines, IL


23.7
91
Freeport, NY


21.4
87
Reading, PA


19.7
147
Houston, TX


17.9
75
Lakeland, FL


17.3
144
Alpharetta, GA


15.6
83
Jersey City, NJ


14.0
30
Piedmont, SC


18. WSI
14.0
52
Appleton, WI


12.0
35
Scottsdale, AZ


20. Radial
11.8
24
King of Prussia, PA


TOTAL:
652.9
Source: Armstrong & Associates, Inc.

*Square footage is company reported or Armstrong & Associates, Inc. estimates.


The Top 20 3PLs

The annual ranking of the Top 20 3PL warehouses is supplied to Modern by Armstrong & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in logistics outsourcing.

Each company’s square footage consists of physical locations in North America, as opposed to total space under management by offices based in North America. The list’s combined total square footage increased by 3.7%, following last year’s 4.8% increase.

In addition, reports submitted to Armstrong by listed companies sometimes include forwarding locations, transportation logistics or smaller warehouses, which Armstrong & Associates work to identify and remove from consideration.

Instead, they ensure the list focuses specifically on warehousing facilities of 100,000 square feet or more. This vetting is an ongoing process and contributes to changes in the number of locations even as square footage might remain unchanged.

DHL Supply Chain North America (Exel) retains its No. 1 spot on the list with 119 million square feet, level with last year following a 3.5% increase in 2017. The change in the number of warehouses is a result of ongoing revisions to DHL’s list of qualified locations.

In second place is XPO Logistics, which first appeared on the 2016 list. In late 2015 XPO acquired Menlo Logistics, which had previously ranked 14th on the list with 21 million square feet. XPO also acquired former third-place finisher Norbert Dentressangle, which in turn acquired Jacobson Companies in mid-2014. XPO’s combined space under management now stands at 83.7 million square feet.

“In general, there’s not a lot of movement in the Top 20, but we’ll have to see what XPO does because they keep buying and could encroach on DHL,” Armstrong says.

Ryder Supply Chain Solutions reflects a 14% increase to 50 million square feet, following last year’s 11% increase, to retain third place.

In 4th place, the French shipping company Geodis reflects the 2017 acquisition of OHL, which ranked seventh on the 2016 list. The company reported flat square footage and warehouse totals last year, but posted 12% gains on the latest list.

Three years ago, fifth-place NFI Logistics reported 23 million square feet of capacity. Since then, it has nearly doubled to 41.5 million square feet across 130 warehouses, 30 more than last year. The gains were enough to leapfrog sixth-place Americold, which remains the top-ranked cold chain specialist.

After FedEx’s 2015 acquisition of previous fourth-place GENCO in 2015, it now reports as FedEx Supply Chain and manages 35.4 million square feet, enough for seventh place.

After debuting on the 2016 list in ninth place with 26 million square feet, cold storage provider Lineage Logistics has not yet reported a change in square footage. However, following an adjustment to Kenco’s square footage, it has exchanged ranks with than company to finish in eighth place.

DSC Logistics grew square footage by nearly 9% to round out the Top 10 with 25 million square feet.

DB Schenker reported the same space and warehouses reported since 2016 to claim 11th place.

Penske Logistics climbed three spots following a 27% increase in square footage and now occupies 12th place with 21.4 million square feet.

CEVA Logistics reported figures identical to last year’s, but given the close competition in the lower half of the list, it is now ranked No. 13. CMA CGM recently announced its intent to acquire CEVA, which Armstrong says will likely be incorporated within its ship line company.

“CEVA does about 750,000 containers a year, which is a big plus for CMA CGM,” Armstrong says. “There is overlap between the two companies but CMA CGM will really benefit from having CEVA involved, and CEVA will benefit from being owned by somebody.”

Despite a modest increase, Saddle Creek fell to 14th, followed by UPS, whose numbers—like the next three companies on the list—are unchanged.

In 19th place, APL Logistics shows 12% less square footage than last year, which paved the way for newcomer Radial, a Pennsylvania-based specialist in omni-channel commerce technologies and operations, with 11.8 million square feet.

Top 20 North American refrigerated warehousing companies

(Canada and U.S.)

Company
Volume (millions of cubic feet)
% change from 2017
Locations


871.6
-3.0%
Canada and US


672.0
7.3%
US


280.1
8.1%
US


132.5
0.0%
Canada


115.2
1.3%
US


100.2
0.0%
US


83.7
-7.6%
US


67.9
9.0%
US


64.8
8.4%
US


10. Congebec Logistics, Inc.
49.7
0.0%
Canada


43.8
0.0%
US


42.9
0.0%
Canada


38.3
0.0%
US


29.7
0.0%
Canada


28.3
0.0%
Canada


26.4
14.3%
US


25.2
0.0%
US


25.2
0.0%
US


25.0
N/A
US


21.8
0.0%
US


TOTAL:
2,744.30
Source: International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW)


“As members align their strategic focus with protecting and enhancing their customers’ brands, their business has grown,” said GCCA president and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “This has resulted in increased capacity as members expand and build new facilities to address their customers’ immediate and future distribution needs, while also offering new and improved value-added services.”

GCCA membership includes 1,214 temperature-controlled facilities and members in more than 80 countries. Warehouse members offer a range of logistics solutions, including storage, transportation, processing, blast freezing, exports and more. A complete listing of all warehouse members can be found in the Global Cold Chain Directory, which is available for free online or as a mobile app. 


About the Author

Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

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Article Topics

DHL Supply Chain · Penske · Top 20 · Warehouses · · All Topics
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