Third Party Logistics, also called 3PL, is a new type of product distribution model in which another company houses products from any type of manufacturer (warehousing) and delivers it to wherever they desire (transportation).
Using 3PL, larger corporate manufacturers can now concentrate solely on making their product and not logistics. This adds the bottom line by reducing the amount spent on storage space, workers, trucks, driver, and delivery support systems
3PL organizations realize that the success of this distribution model is often based on next-day or same-day delivery thereby reducing warehousing cost, so they need to be centrally located. The Lehigh Valley is within a truck ride to over 60 million people and located in the middle of the country's most populated corridor (Boston to Washington, DC).
Warehousing, over the last ten years, is the Valley's number one growth industry. In fact, Northampton, Lehigh, and Berks counties are home to a combined 65 million square feet of warehouse space. Which ranks it second, behind only farming, for land use in the area.
With almost another 6 million square feet of warehouses schedule to be constructed this year, and this pace is predicted to remain steady for the next five years, while the number of farms is decreasing; warehouses will soon overtake farms.
Transportation, the second largest growing industry in the area over the last ten years, has also changed the Valley's landscape. In addition to the number of warehouse buildings that dot the horizon, especially if looking from the Interstate, the number of trucks and their traffic are increasing among the highways and the smaller roads that surround the warehouses.
Whether viewed as positive as for business (jobs and revenue created), or as a negative by environmentalists (building along the horizons, pollution, traffic, and noise), the concept of third party logistics has definitely changed the Lehigh Valley's landscape.