Difference 1pl 2pl 3pl 4pl 5pl

Difference 1pl 2pl 3pl 4pl 5pl

What does 1pl 2pl 3pl 4pl 5pl mean?

The 1pl 2pl 3pl 4pl 5pl system refers to a classification for logistic providers. These categories explain how involved the professional gets when taking care of the customer’s requests. This helps better determine the type of offer proposed, to make sure the solutions brought forward are sufficiently relevant.

The main difference between 1pl, 2pl, 3pl, 4pl and 5pl lies in the services provided to companies. A is therefore able to take care of freight and the distribution of goods, not forgetting raw material management. Transport-related operations are also an integral part of the offers showcased by certain specialists. This namely concerns the subscription to insurance policies, choosing which transport means to use, and the framework for administrative obligations.

According to its 1pl, 2pl, 3pl, 4pl or 5pl categorization, the may also present integration solutions. ERP software, localization device for the vehicle fleet or freight, stock management, etc. Logistic providers rely on a number of tools to deliver relevant and well-adapted advice to customer companies or their representatives in specific situations.

1pl 2pl 3pl 4pl 5pl: the 5 main differences

As previously mentioned, the difference between 1pl, 2pl, 3pl, 4pl and 5pl providers lies in their services, according to how needed they are in a company:

  • 1PL: basic subcontracting dedicated to nation-wide transport services, such as loading and distributing goods;

  • 2PL: and services are added to transport services. The former are generally conducted on the mandated company’s premises;

  • 3PL: this level offers a range of services, considering the as a whole. This type of provider offers specific expertise, regular monitoring and efficient communication, namely with regard to formalities;

  • 4PL: logistics management is entrusted to consulting companies offering integration solutions to coordinate the various aspects of the . For a 4PL provider, 3PL resources are accompanied by additional resources focusing on digital tools;

  • 5PL: the provider offers expertise in engineering and cutting-edge innovative flow automation systems.

Examples and practical applications

Despite the differences separating 1pl, 2pl, 3pl, 4pl and 5pl providers, their service organization is in line with a common operating system. The following approach is essential for ensuring their services’ quality and efficacy:

  • Listening to the customers’ needs and offering adequate solutions;

  • Scheduling the solutions’ implementation;

  • Applying them in a professional environment, with permanent quality control and monitoring;

  • Adapting services according to the results achieved;

  • Providing post-operational support or overseeing logistical stages on the short, medium or long term.

1pl 2pl 3pl 4pl and 5pl in figures

Appearing as both a central and ancillary activity within the transport sector, logistics are the fifth largest economic activity in France. Its average annual growth is about 3% depending on the business lines concerned. This estimate takes into account the means used (sea or land freight, etc.) and the type of goods - such as agri-foods, liquid bulk or construction materials.

1pl, 2pl, 3pl, 4pl and 5pl providers have 78 million square meters dedicated to warehouses and logistical platforms, as well as over 4,400 companies sharing the market.


Regulatory cornerstones

  • Labor Code

  • Regulations pertaining to the application of logistical solutions in professional environments

  • Transport Code

  • regulations relating to international trade