3PLs Make Debut on Global Freight 50

Trucks loading at Port Houston's Bayport Container Terminal
Trucks loading at Port Houston's Bayport Container Terminal. (Business Wire/Associated Press)

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While the worst of the global supply chain snarls brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic now appear to be in the rearview mirror, it’s still not business as usual for international freight.

Even as port congestion has cleared and some supply shortages have eased, the world’s largest freight transportation providers continue to face a high degree of uncertainty amid elevated inflation and a growing chorus of voices warning of the risk of an economic downturn.

Whatever the future may hold, shippers across the globe will continue to depend on the firms that appear on the 2022 Transport Topics Top 50 Global Freight Companies to keep their shipments flowing.

This list, produced in cooperation with SJ Consulting Group, provides an updated annual snapshot of the world’s largest freight transportation companies across all modes, from truck and rail to ocean and air cargo.

The Top 50 list ranks companies based on full-year revenue from freight operations in 2021. It excludes revenue generated by passenger services and other non-freight business.

Unlike previous years, however, this edition of the ­Global Top 50 includes not just asset-based carriers that move freight with their own vehicles, vessels and equipment, but also third-party logistics companies that serve as intermediaries between shippers and carriers by arranging and coordinating shipments.

As a result, several major freight brokers, international freight forwarders and global logistics providers make their debut on this year’s list.

Another prominent addition is the United States Postal Service, which appears at No. 4 after being included on the Top 50 for the first time.

The very top of the list, however, remains unchanged. UPS Inc. held onto the No. 1 spot for a second straight year, just ahead of rival FedEx Corp.

Deutsche Post DHL of Germany, meanwhile, climbs to No. 3, up from No. 6 a year earlier.

While the top four spots are all held by parcel couriers, the world’s largest ocean carriers are next on the list with Denmark-­based Maersk, France’s CMA CGM and Cosco Shipping Group of China ranking Nos. 5, 6 and 7, respectively.

Switzerland-based ocean and airfreight forwarder Kuehne + Nagel International, which debuts at No. 8, is the largest 3PL on the Global Top 50. Another global logistics provider, DSV A/S of Denmark, joins the list at No. 13.

Seth Clevenger


The biggest 3PLs in North America also rank highly on a global scale. C.H. Robinson, the largest freight broker in the United States, makes its debut at No. 17 on the Global Top 50 list, while Seattle-based freight forwarder Expeditors International checks in at No. 22.

Also joining the list this year are Chinese logistics com­pany Sinotrans at No. 19 and French railway company SNCF Group at No. 25.

Other newcomers include No. 35 Kerry Logistics of Hong Kong, No. 37 CJ Logistics of South Korea, No. 38 Dachser Group of Germany, No. 40 Bolloré Logistics of France and No. 43 Kintetsu World Express of Japan.

Several of North America’s largest trucking companies also stand among the largest freight transportation companies in the world.

Less-than-truckload carrier XPO Logistics ranks No. 26 on the list. The company is morphing into a pure-play LTL provider through the spinoff of its contract logistics business, which is now GXO Logistics, and its freight brokerage operations, which will move forward under the RXO name.

Other major trucking companies on the list include truck-rail intermodal service provider J.B. Hunt Transport Services at No. 28 and Canada-based trucking and parcel delivery conglomerate TFI International at No. 42.

Packages sit inside a UPS truck

UPS Inc. maintained its spot atop the Top 50 Global Freight Companies list for the second consecutive year. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

New to the list this year is No. 45 Landstar System, which operates through a network of independent freight brokerage agents and independent owner-operators. Landstar joins the Top 50 this year after growing its revenue 58% in 2021.

Truckload giants Knight-Swift Transportation and Schneider rank No. 47 and 49, respectively, while LTL carrier Old Dominion Freight Line rounds out the list at No. 50.

The Top 50 list includes companies operating across all major modes of freight transportation. A total of 13 are ocean carriers, followed by 10 freight rail providers and 10 third-party logistics firms. The list also includes eight companies that are primarily parcel delivery providers, along with seven trucking companies and two commercial airlines that generate a large percentage of their revenue from airfreight services.

The United States is home to 15 of the Top 50 companies, more than any other country. Next up is Japan, where six companies on the list are headquartered. China is next with five of the Top 50, followed by France and Germany with four each.

All revenue figures are listed in U.S. dollars. Currency conversions are based on the average exchange rate in 2021.

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