Over the world, outsourcing of logistics functions to partners, known as “third-party logistics providers”, has increasingly become a powerful alternative to the traditional, vertically-integrated firm. A growth in the number of outsourcing partnerships has contributed to the development of more flexible organizations, based on core competencies and mutually beneficial longer-term relationships. A 1995 survey of the chemical industry by Van der Steen and Siegel (1995), for example, found that the average number of outsourcing partnerships per company grew from 1.5 in 1989 to 5.5 in 1994. Overall, some 60 per cent of Fortune 500 companies report having at least one contract with a third-party logistics provider (Lieb and Randall, 1996).
A report published by fedex announced western Europe invested more fund(65%) to TPL than Northern America(49%) and Asia(50%), and 32% of Asia enterprises outsourse their logistics service function to TPL, in Europe the rate is 29%, in Northern America the number is 16%, it showed us logistics outsourcing in Asia is more active than other area of the world. Around the word, there are more than 70% enterprises want to outsource their logistics service function to TPL, because it can reduce lots of costs and shorten the period of order, in Asia generally shortened from 9.8 days to 7.9 days and in Northern America, generally shortened from 25.6 days to 18.3 days. (http://www.logistics-smu.net, 2006)
China external logistics reached a total value of RMB 48 trillion in 2005 with a yr-on-yr growth of 25.2%, which was a little lower than the previous year but still remained a rapid increase. Structurally, as the industrial product logistics developed fastest, naturally it took the largest proportion in total value of the external logistics; whereas the agricultural product logistics increased slowest, and its proportion was rather small.
The total value of China external logistics amounted to RMB 26.8 trillion in the first half of 2006, rising 15.3% compared to the 1st half of 2005 (calculated at comparable price, hereafter the same in this paragraph) , but its growth rate declined by 1%, which was mainly caused by decreasing growth rate of industrial product logistics; The total value of industrial product logistics was RMB 23.4 trillion, up 15.6% compared to the 1st half of 2005, but its growth rate declined by 1.2%; the total value of import logistics was RMB 2.95 trillion, up 14.2% compared to the 1st half of 2005, and its growth rate increased by 0.2%; The total value of agricultural product logistics reached RMB 461.5 billion, growing 5.1% compared to the 1st half of 2005, its growth arte remained almost the same as the 1st half of 2005. ((责任编辑：charlie)