We all understand that trucking is the heartbeat of any location in the world, due to the simplest of facts! The simple fact that; no matter where a product or supply of needs/goods/equipment/food, ect. are needed; it all begins and ends with trucking in even the most simplest of forms. Now, with that being said, trucking is vast, the different types of trucking are pretty neutral anywhere and can be found in these common forms:
- Courier Services- These Carrier services are the delivery carriers of anything they can fit in their types of vehicles, ranging from these Sprinter style vans and normal automobiles to those Slide door Panel vans in the colors brown, yellow, or white vehicles, in my area at least. These guys deliver small package, legal documents, auto parts, and expedited needs, to the destinations. The typical way these guys earn is by loading the small vehicles with packages from the Shippers, or a Warehousing type of facility, then delivery to the destination. They can run teams, and they can also run Over the Road, typically using the Less than Truckload style of running, of having multiple pick-ups and destinations. However, Single pick-ups and drop-offs are not as uncommon as you may think.
- Auto Carrier- These guys haul cars, trucks, suv’s, atv/utv, and motorcycles primarily. These guys range from single vehicle moves to as high as 10 (yep, ten) vehicles spaces available to load for destinations. These Over the Road and Regional Operations load and deliver by multiple pickup’s and drop-off’s on a various trip movements of direction like East to West and Back, North to South, then back. Dedicated accounts typically pay for the truck to deadhead back to the Origination of the Shipper for reloading. These Carrier’s, do operate Open carriers like the one above, and they also have enclosed style trailers, to move the vehicles. The Closed style trailers, prevent damage to the automobiles within, used mostly to transport the higher end luxuries, classics, and exotics.
- Towing and Recovery- OK, OK, you got me! Yes, these guys are a type of auto carrier. Yes, however, they have a different style, which is usually local or regional operations; they typically operate on the hour by hour, as needed. They handle service station deliveries, roadside service calls, recovery via repossession, asset recovery (no, they are not the same), accident recoveries, towing for breakdowns to the need of services and returns, equipment delivery, and I will even say I have loaded a few with packages of airfreight…….don’t judge me! Yes, they took it! Yes, they complained!! No, they gave me no problems once loaded! Yes, they did end up accepting the dedicated account for a period of time!
- Power Only/Drive-Away- Don’t shake your head! I know that is not a vehicle. It is a Cargo Ship, however that may be;these Containers are delivered to port of calls by these “boats (commonly referenced as)” and have got to be delivered from the port. These Carrier that deliver these are called Container Carriers. Container Carriers typically run from a single port of call, ie: Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Savannah, Newark, Boston, ect. The freight is typically imports and exports of the region the Port of Call services. These guys either are single terminals, multiple agency/terminals. Some operate warehouses, some don’t. Some operate under multiple Operations, or Identities like dba’s, some are multiple carriers under one ownership……This is a volume style business. Did I mention that they also use these for Railroad deliveries? Yes, some railroad yards, are also Port of Calls. The power only guys are just as it says; Power unit, or tractor, pulling is the only Carrier operated portion of the vehicle, but they can and are held responsible for the pulled unit when it is owned by Shipper; like the Container discussed here. These guys are also know to utilize empty trailers of outside sources like manufacturers of new trailers, used trailers sold by dealers and needing delivery, and from other larger carriers to “power the units” to its needed location, allowing these guys to load out trailers with freight. Now the drive-aways, as they are called, drive the unit(s) for delivery from pick-up locations to the delivery locations. Some you would see, are the Class A/B/C RV type vehicles needing delivery from manufacturer to the dealer network,and stacked Semis that look like they are driving over the top of each other—looking like a couple of “Steering Wheel Holder’s” drove onto each others rear section of the truck; and said something like “oh, well; guess they will just drive that way”, with their stupid look like they do not know what happened………….however, those are loaded by a Wrecker or crane that has a crane lifting them to mount on the fifth-wheel plate of each truck while removing tires and chaining up a rear axle if necessary, and locked in place by bolts and a hooking style mount system. Really amazing when you consider that two bolts hold them in place on the mount.
- Tankers- These guys deliver the liquids like milk, oj, water, along with gases, fuels, even hot tar. Yes, they can keep it hot. They have a system on the truck and trailer that runs off the coolant in the combined system that heats off the trucks engine usage. They are regarded as one of the most dangerous of delivery services to operate. From the list of products they can deliver; gives meaning to the word dangerous.
- Bulk commodities- Raw goods, like flour, wheat, corn soybeans; Earth barren such as gypsum, gravel, sand; and are not limited to just these. Anything that needs to be delivered in bulk, and then processed. Lumber, asphalt, wood chips, and logs fit here. The common types of trucks or trailers used are pneumatics (pictured above), dump trucks and trailers, hopper bottoms, and live bottoms. Concrete trucks go into this category. As well as Live Cattle operations, however the live animal carriers use a different trailer; you do understand that don’t you?!?
- General Freight- These guys deliver general goods and products, most are single pick-up and single drop-off locations, while some can be LTL. They typically use a Dry Van (pictured here). However, these are the majority of freight, and will move just about anything. This includes consumer lumber for retail stores and builders, dry goods, furniture, and clothing.
- Refrigerated- These guys move anything that needs refrigerated between two locations. Their trailers are cooled by a unit that is individually powered typically by a engine mounted on the top front of the cargo area, which cools the outside air and blows the cold air into the cargo area. They can turn the units on or off, usually automated, and temperatures that range from -30 degree F up to around the 85 degree F mark; depending on the needs of cargo. They have the ability to move Non-refrigerated freight as well. Swinging Meat is the most dangerous of freight within this category, which is very top heavy ie; high center of gravity, and moves like the tankers “surging” as it is called during stopping process.
- Air Freight/Expedited- These trucking operations, are the get there now guys. They have to be there. They are either transferring Air Freight from Aircraft to Aircraft to meet for a transfer, or they have to get needed parts, equipment, people, and even structural pieces to their destinations. The expedited portion are expected to pickup, stopping only for fuel/bathroom breaks, until their destination.
- Open Deck – These type of operations use trailers that allow the freight moved to be in the environmental conditions, or at least tarped to keep out of the rain. From Heavy Equipment down to Lumber on a Flatbed which is one the most common of trailers produced.
- Specialized- These range from any of the following list, but are not limited: a) medical b)over weight/over dimensional c) guarded d) hazardous materials ie: nuclear material and explosives are two e) dedicated ; and now following a recent law voting changes of the people in certain locations f) marijuana transport, which based on what I have noticed within the industry will most likely be used by pharmaceutical companies for the smaller freight they move, and are typically opening with the bank transport operations style of reinforced trucks, and well to be honest based on the primary way they passed the legalization laws; may need to under the medical transport designation g) LTL- also known as less than truckload- these are the loads similar to the courier services listed above, where they pick-up from multiple shippers and deliver to multiple receivers in order to maximize revenue by filling the cargo area. LTL’s can utilize hubs, or terminals to pick-up shipments deliver to their location, sort to the proper truck taking the cargo to another hub for additional sorting or delivery.
This is a pretty generalized list; however it covers every type of trucking you can find even if they are not specifically listed. When you look at the FMCSA paperwork, for operating authorities, you will notice way more types that they may categorize the different operations within. All these types can be checked on paperwork, utilized, authorized, and profited by carriers. However, most usually like to stay within the “normal” parameters of their typical working freight zone in which they are accustomed. One operation can be multiple types. Don’t let that rattle your “noggin’ as we call it in the South.” Private carriers are not listed because they are privately used by an owner; even left off a few others, but hey you get the idea.
Before I forget; there is one that I did not mention that I wanted to list below; these guys should be recognized as a type of operation found. There is a difference but I will tell you in a second………….These guys were saved for last; and if I did not list them, my brother would be upset–“Shout out Little Brother, just for you, if you actually read this!”
Military- These guys are the transportation and supply lines of the militaries around the world. The difference is that these guys, will allow outside Public Carriers to transport their shipments; once they are approved by multiple contracting and approval agencies. It should be noted that Tight deadlines and Long Requirements cause issues, and a lot of carriers do not handle their requirements. They end up being on the “Do Not Use or Utilize” list; costing them millions in revenues guaranteed by the government needing additional outside help. Drivers used, also must pass similar approvals, prior to moving the freight here in the USA.by