Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effectiveness of strategic logistics outsourcing through the implementation of 4PL to support the development of competitive advantage for manufacturing firms. Design/methodology/approach: Applying the strategic logistics outsourcing theory along with the resource-based view of competitive advantage, the authors point out the vital role of strategic logistics outsourcing in the manufacturing firm competitiveness. The data was collected using questionnaires with 30 manufacturing firms and analysed on effectiveness statistics and t-test to determine the effect of strategic logistics outsourcing on developing the competitive advantage for manufacturing firms. Findings: The findings indicate that cost reduction, efficient utilization of resources in the supply chain, and ICT application in 4PL services are key drivers to the competitive advantage of manufacturing firms. Research/practical implications: The research proposes to use a 4th party logistics as a strategic logistics outsourcing provider for achieving the competitive advantage for manufacturing firms. Originality/value: This is one of the first studies that provide an empirical analysis on the effect of strategic logistics outsourcing in developing the competitive advantage for manufacturing firms.