Gross revenue for U.S. third-party logistics providers (3PLs) is expected to exceed $140 billion in 2011 -- quite a feat when you consider that in 1976, less than 6,000 trucking companies had operating authority from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). After deregulation of the transportation industry in the 1980s, competition increased dramatically and traditional trucking companies began expanding their services. Many evolved into what we now know as 3PLs, offering warehousing, cross docking, inventory management, packaging and freight forwarding. The 3PL industry has grown steadily for three decades and, according to a recent report by Grubb & Ellis, 3PL were the most active segment of the warehouse logistics real estate market in the first quarter of 2011. A number of factors are in play and the outlook is good.