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3PL Track and Trace: Avoid Surprises and Embrace Success

A person using 3pl track and trace on their laptop
Last Modified: June 1, 2023
Track and trace provide accurate updates on your freight shipment. With this service, you’ll always know where your freight is and when it should arrive.
Jacob Lee
November 17, 2022
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3PL track and trace is a tool that comes in handy when you hire a 3PL to move or store your freight for you. Knowing where your freight is at any given time is important so you can not only know that it’s in safe hands, but also know when you should expect to have it arrive. 

A 3PL track and trace tool is a service that many 3PL providers offer to their customers. It allows clients to track their freight throughout the journey. Track and trace provide visibility from the moment the freight is picked up,  through where it’s located in a warehouse, and when it’s dropped off at the customer’s doorstep. 

We’ll run through how 3PL track and trace works, why you need it, and some of the benefits that come with using it. 

What Does Logistics Track and Trace Mean?

Track and trace is exactly what it sounds like: a service used to track and trace the movement of freight during its journey throughout the supply chain. You can track freight at multiple levels including as a pallet, package, and individual item. Regardless of the level you choose to monitor your freight, track and trace will provide you with reliable information on where your freight is at in the supply chain.   

Our article on the benefits of outsourcing fulfillment to a 3pl for services like track and trace will benefit you. 

Why Do I Need Track and Trace?

Whether you’re a seller shipping off merchandise sold through eCommerce or a buyer receiving goods from the other side of the country, knowing where your freight is at is important. 

We’ve listed some of the ways you might find tracking services useful:

  • Determining when your goods will arrive
  • Communicate arrival times to buyers 
  • Determine if shipments are delayed
  • Determine if a shipment was lost
  • Notice when shipments are delivered to the wrong destination
  • Track goods’ arrival at your 3PL’s warehouse 

Knowing when your goods will arrive will allow you to accurately plan any preparations needed for its arrival. Tracking your goods will also help allow quickly communicate with them in the event goods are lost or delivered to the wrong destination. 

What Are the Benefits Of Track and Trace?

There are quite a few benefits that you’ll be able to reap when using the tracing services that 3PL companies offer. These benefits will make the entirety of the shipping and storage process of goods much easier.  

Cost Reduction

Track and trace logistics can help reduce the cost of your shipment by finding better routes. You can do this by following the route your freight travels while on its way to you or the buyer. 

Over time, it’s possible to identify routes that are much faster. A faster route means lower fuel costs, which in turn will save you money on the overall cost of the shipment. 

Check out our article on reducing logistics costs for more money-saving tips. 


A 3PL’s tracking service proves its trustworthiness. A good 3PL provider understands the freight that they help move is of great importance to the seller and the buyer. Track and trace let you accurately determine the location of freight so you’re never left wondering where it is.

Ability To Change Route

As freight travels through the supply chain, there are always risks that bottlenecks could occur, causing freight to be stuck in one area for too long. 

Some of the reasons bottlenecks occur are:

  • Labor shortages
  • Buying patterns of consumers
  • Weather events
  • Traffic 

Many of these factors are beyond anyone’s control. Fortunately, track and trace provide the ability to recognize bottlenecks as they occur and formulate a plan to overcome them. To show how important this is, check out some statistics regarding freight shipping delays and bottlenecks.

Bottlenecks and Freight Shipping Delays

How Often Is Freight Delayed Due To Weather11.7 Percent
How Many Ports Are Experiencing Long Turnaround Times75 Percent
How Many Businesses Were Affected By Delays Caused By COVID-1935 Percent
Amount Of Consumers Unable To Get Their Product Of Choice Due To COVID-1961 Percent

If you notice that your freight isn’t moving quickly enough because of traffic and weather delays, you can change the route of your shipment to avoid these challenges. 

Real-Time Updates

One amazing benefit that track and trace logistics will provide you with is real-time updates about your freight. Many carriers do not provide you with accurate updates on the progress of your shipment. In some instances, updates can be as long as a day behind. 

Some of the real-time information at your disposal with trace and track is:

  • The location of goods
  • The estimated time goods will arrive
  • If the goods have been received by the buyer
  • The quantity of goods that arrived

A reliable third-party logistics company will have the technology to accurately track and trace the movement of freight. This will take out some of the guesswork you would normally have to do when looking at outdated tracking info.

Easier Inventory Management

From a business perspective, 3PL logistics tracking will make inventory management much easier for you. Just because you might not have a certain product in the warehouse doesn’t mean the quantity of it will remain the same.  

Trace and tracking help you discern what goods will be coming in and what goods have already left. All have an impact on inventory levels.

How Do I Trace and Track My Freight?

A semi truck driving on a two-lane bridge.

There are two different ways that you can trace and track your freight. You can either go out of your way to locate your freight using the trace and track capabilities of your 3PL or you can have your 3PL provider provide updates on where your freight is. 

To track your freight yourself, follow these steps:

  1. Sign into the account you have with your 3pl provider
  2. Place the unique tracking number for your freight in the tracking search field
  3. Wait for the results to load

Your second option is to have the3PL provide updates on your freight’s location. This is a less hands-on approach to tracking your freight, but it’s still effective. With this method, your 3PL will provide you with updates on the progress of your shipment.

Can I Use 3PL Track and Trace On My Phone?

You can access tracking and tracing services from the convenience of your own phone in many cases. If you prefer to actively track your shipments, simply log into the 3PL account on your phone to access updates. 

If you would rather your 3PL provider provide updates, you can have them sent as a text message.

R+L Global Logistics Can Be Your 3PL Track and Trace

R+L Global Logistics can provide you with track and trace services, along with an assortment of other types of fulfillment services. Some of these fulfillment services include the following:

  • Kitting 
  • Reverse logistics
  • Pick & pack 
  • Expiring product fulfillment

Our leadership at R+L Global Logistics has a combined experience of 80 years in the logistics industry. With their guidance and our team of dedicated workers, we’ll provide you with the best 3PL experience you’ve ever had. 

Call our team and ask about our services at (866) 989-3082 or fill out your quote below.

Looking for a solution to store and ship your products seamlessly? Let R+L Global Logistics be your fulfillment and distribution partner.

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