The top 15 biggest logistics companies in the world in 2017 generated around $158 billion in revenue and stand to benefit much more than their smaller peers from the positive developments in the industry, like the introduction of new technologies, the growth of eCommerce, which boosts demand, and others. Moreover, due to their large size, most of the biggest logistics companies in the world are poised to remain among the leaders, as many companies in the list were also among the 10 biggest logistics companies in the world several years ago.
Logistics represents the management of resources, which involves their procurement, storage, and transportation to their final destinations. Most companies choose others to take care of their logistics needs, because it’s more cost effective. However, big companies might choose to have their own logistics management due to their large size that can justify the cost. For example, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has been showing signs that it is planning to get into logistics in order to improve the efficiency of its deliveries to customers and at the same time provide services to other companies, taking advantage of a market with a value estimated at over $400 billion.
Last year, the transportation industry took some major steps forward, which in turn should help logistics companies improve their businesses. One of the most important developments was Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) announcing its Prime Air program, which will deliver packages to customers using drones. Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is working on similar technology, as are other companies. Car makers have made some progress in self-driving technology development, which is spreading into the trucking industry. Last October, Otto, a startup owned by Uber that is engaged in developing self-driving trucks, conducted the first test drive of a fully-autonomous truck that took a 120-mile journey delivering 50,000 cans of beer.
Automation is not coming to the logistics industry only in the form of trucks or drones. More and more companies are making their warehouses more automated, using robots and software for warehouse management, purchasing and other tasks.
Because of the introduction of digitization and automation, logistics companies are facing the potential entry of more competitors. For years, the logistics business had very high barriers to entry, as buying and operating a network of warehouses, and fleets of trucks and planes, was very capital intensive. Now, new companies can target portions of the industry and identify niches that are not covered sufficiently by big logistics companies. For example, Convoy is a small startup that was launched in 2015 and provides an online service that connects smaller trucking companies with businesses that need shipping of goods.
However, the top 15 biggest logistics companies in the world in 2017, like XPO Logistics Inc (NYSE:XPO), J B Hunt Transport Services Inc (NASDAQ:JBHT), and United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS) aren’t threatened by new competitors. For one, they have the market share and economies of scale of that require a lot of money to be matched. Some analysts reckon that even Amazon’s entry into the logistics business doesn’t pose a big risk for big logistics companies. Moreover, they themselves invest a lot of money in automation and new technology that will allow them to reduce costs and even pursue acquisitions of smaller tech companies, which sometimes makes better sense than developing software in-house.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the top 15 biggest logistics companies in the world in 2017. The companies are sorted based on their revenue reported for the end of 2016.
Revenue: $4.93 billion
We kick off the list of the top 15 biggest logistics companies in the world in 2017 with GEFCO, which is a French logistics company, part of the Peugeot Citroen group that provides logistics and land, sea, and air transportation services with an emphasis on automotive logistics. GEFCO operates 400 facilities in over 100 countries and offers services including overland flow logistics, finished vehicle logistics, storage and warehousing, and packaging management.
Revenue: $5.33 billion
Switzerland-based Panalpina provides forwarding and logistics services for intercontinental air and ocean freight and offers supply chain management solutions. Its network includes 500 branches in over 80 countries and it has partners in another 90 countries. It has two hubs, in Luxembourg and Huntsville, Alabama.
13. Expeditors International of Washington (NASDAQ:EXPD)
Revenue: $6.10 billion
Expeditors International of Washington (NASDAQ:EXPD) provides global logistics services and acts as a third-party logistics provider, meaning that it acquires space from transportation companies (including on airplanes and cargo ships) and resells it to customers. Therefore, Expeditors International of Washington (NASDAQ:EXPD) doesn’t own any aircraft or ships and focuses on solutions like order management, warehousing and distribution, and cargo insurance.
12. J B Hunt Transport Services Inc (NASDAQ:JBHT)
Revenue: $6.56 billion
J B Hunt Transport Services Inc (NASDAQ:JBHT) is one of the leading ground transportation, delivery and logistics companies in North America. The company provides transportation and delivery services to businesses and customers throughout the U.S, Canada, and Mexico. J B Hunt Transport Services Inc (NASDAQ:JBHT) owns a fleet of tractors and trucks that includes 12,933 units.
11. Ceva Logistics
Revenue: $6.65 billion
Next on our list of the top 15 biggest logistics companies in the world in 2017 is Ceva Logistics, based in Hoofdorp, Netherlands, and which has operations in over 160 countries, where it manages more than 1,000 locations. The company mainly serves Automotive, Consumer and Retail, Technology, and Industrial & Aerospace businesses, which collectively represent over 70% of its revenue.
Revenue: $6.70 billion
DACHSER Group SE & Co. KG is a German logistics company headquartered in Kempten. Dachser provides European logistics services, as well as air & sea logistics, and food logistics. In contract logistics, Dachser provides transportation, warehousing, and value-added services. It has 437 locations around the world and a wide European network.
Revenue: $7.04 billion
Another company on our list of the top 15 biggest logistics companies in the world in 2017 is Sinotrans Limited, a Chinese state-owned logistics company with one of the largest market shares in the country. Sinotrans operates in most of China’s coastal and strategically important regions, including Hong Kong, Guandong, Fujian, Shanghai, Zheijiang, Jiangsu, Hubei, and Jiangxi. Among the services provided by Sinotrans are storage and terminal, trucking, and marine transportation.
8. UPS Supply Chain Solutions
Revenue: $10.26 billion
UPS Supply Chain Solutions is the logistics and freight division of United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS). It provides air, sea, ground, and rail transportation and freight services as well as freight forwarding to 195 countries. UPS Supply Chain Solutions operates over 500 facilities in more than 115 countries and manages 36.6 million square feet of warehousing space. The Freight unit within UPS Supply Chain Solutions includes 5,629 vehicles and 21,282 trailers and operates 200 service centers.
Revenue: $10.68 billion
DSV A/S is a Denmark-based transport and logistics company that provides road, air, sea, and train transportation services. The company has offices in more than 80 countries and managed to expand through a series of acquisitions, including that of Samson Transport, DFDS Dan Transport Group, and UTi Worldwide, which it bought last year.
6. SNCF Logistics
Revenue: $11.75 billion
On the sixth spot in our list of the top 15 biggest logistics companies in the world in 2017 is SNCF Logistics. SNCF Logistics is the logistics division of the French state-owned company SNCF. The division incorporated the activity of Geodis, which provides general land transportation and logistics services, Fret SNCF, the national rail freight operator, VFLI, which provides short-haul freight, and Captrain, responsible for international rail freight. SNCF Logistics also provides rail vehicle leasing operations and also includes the automobile transportation company STVA.
5. C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc (NASDAQ:CHRW)
Revenue: $13.14 billion
C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc (NASDAQ:CHRW) is a Fortune 500 company that provides transportation services, including ocean, air freight, truckload and less-than-truckload, and third-party logistics services. The company has more than 280 offices in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc (NASDAQ:CHRW) also offers transportation management, brokerage, and warehousing services.
4. XPO Logistics Inc (NYSE:XPO)
Revenue: $14.62 billion
XPO Logistics Inc (NYSE:XPO) is the largest U.S provider of transportation and logistics services. It serves more than 50,000 customers and operates 1,435 locations in 31 countries. XPO Logistics Inc (NYSE:XPO) has the largest trucking fleet in Europe and is one of the leading providers of less-than-truckload services in Western Europe and North America.
3. DB Schenker
Revenue: $17.72 billion
DB Schenker is the logistics unit of German railroad operator Deutsche Bahn. It provides logistics services through air, land and sea freight, as well as a rail division that includes a European rail freight company. DB Schenker operates around 2,000 locations in 140 countries.
2. DHL Supply Chain
Revenue: $16.43 billion
DHL Supply Chain is a division of DHL Express, a subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL. DHL Supply Chain has two business units – Supply Chain and Williams Lea Tag, which provides business process outsourcing services to large companies. The Supply Chain unit provides contract logistics solutions and a full suite of supply chain services.
1. Kuehne + Nagel
Revenue: $20.50 billion
Kuehne + Nagel International AG is a Swiss transport and logistics company that provides sea freight and airfreight forwarding, contract logistics, and overland services. The company has 1,300 offices in 108 countries and operates around 7 million square feet of warehouse space.
These are the top 15 biggest logistics companies in the world in 2017, which have captured a large share of the logistics market. All companies owe their success to their immense growth, which has allowed them to expand into many countries and operate large networks that provide fast and reliable services to their customers.