What is a freight truck - 8 most common types

Freight trucks are the backbone of the transportation industry, responsible for delivering goods across vast distances. For business and logistics professionals, understanding the various types of freight trucks is essential. In this article, we will delve into the world of freight trucks – from dry van and flatbed trucks to specialized options like refrigerated and tanker trucks, each type serves a unique purpose in the transportation ecosystem. Let's take a look at how each truck type has a different functionality and application in the industry.

What is a freight truck?

Freight trucks are versatile vehicles designed to transport goods efficiently and securely. They are essential for businesses involved in logistics, distribution, and supply chain operations. 

A freight truck, also known as a commercial truck or a semi-truck, is a heavy-duty vehicle specifically designed for the transportation of goods over long distances. These trucks are the workhorses of the transportation industry, playing a vital role in the movement of goods and materials across various sectors. They are equipped with powerful engines, large cargo beds or trailers, and sturdy chassis to withstand the demands of hauling heavy loads. Freight trucks come in various types and configurations, each tailored to specific cargo requirements. With their ability to cover vast distances efficiently, freight trucks are essential for facilitating commerce and ensuring goods reach their destinations in a timely and secure manner.

8 most common types of freight trucks 

1. Dry van freight truck

The dry van truck is the most common type of freight truck. It features an enclosed trailer with no temperature control, making it ideal for transporting non-perishable goods such as electronics, clothing, and consumer packaged goods. Dry van trucks provide protection from weather elements and ensure the security of the cargo. They are versatile and widely used in various industries.

Dry van freight truck

2. Flatbed freight truck

Flatbed trucks have an open, flat trailer bed without any sides or roof. This design allows for easy loading and unloading of cargo from the sides or the rear. Flatbed trucks are ideal for hauling large, oversized, or irregularly shaped cargo, such as construction materials, machinery, or vehicles. They offer flexibility and are commonly used in construction, manufacturing, and freight industries.

Flatbed freight truck

3. Refrigerated (reefer) truck

Refrigerated trucks, often referred to as reefer trucks, are equipped with a cooling system. They maintain a controlled temperature inside the trailer, making them suitable for transporting perishable goods like food, pharmaceuticals, or other temperature-sensitive items. Reefer trucks are essential for ensuring the freshness and quality of goods throughout the transportation process.

Refrigerated (reefer) truck

4. Tanker freight truck

Tanker trucks are designed to transport liquids, such as petroleum, chemicals, or milk. These specialized trucks have cylindrical tanks that are built to withstand the unique requirements of liquid cargo transportation. Tanker trucks ensure safe and efficient delivery by preventing spills and maintaining stability. They play a critical role in industries such as oil and gas, chemical manufacturing, and food processing.

Tanker freight truck

5. Step-Deck (drop-deck) freight truck

Step-deck trucks, also known as drop-deck trucks, have a lower deck height compared to standard flatbed trucks. They feature a lower deck in the front and an upper deck at the rear, allowing for the transportation of taller cargo. Step-deck trucks are often used to transport machinery, construction equipment, or other tall freight that cannot be accommodated on standard flatbeds. They provide versatility and increased cargo capacity for specific types of shipments.

Step-deck (drop-deck) freight truck

6. Double (tandem) trailer

Double trailers consist of two connected trailers pulled by a single truck. They offer increased cargo capacity and are commonly used for long-haul transportation of lightweight goods. Double trailers are especially useful for industries like retail, e-commerce, and parcel delivery, where high volumes of goods need to be transported efficiently. However, operating double trailers requires expertise and compliance with specific regulations and restrictions.

Double (tandem) trailer

7. Car carrier (auto transport) truck

 Car carrier trucks, also known as auto transporters, are designed to transport multiple vehicles. They feature specialized ramps or hydraulic lifts for easy loading and unloading of cars. Car carrier trucks are widely used by car manufacturers, dealerships, and vehicle transport companies. They ensure safe and secure transportation of automobiles, optimizing efficiency in the automotive industry.

Car carrier truck

8. Cube freight truck

Cube trucks, also known as box trucks or cube vans, have a cargo area shaped like a box. They are commonly used for local deliveries, furniture transportation, or moving services. Cube trucks provide a weatherproof and secure environment for cargo, with easy access through rear doors. They are versatile and well-suited for urban deliveries or operations with frequent stops and starts.

Cube freight truck

The bottom line 

Understanding the different types of freight trucks is crucial for any trucking business. Each truck type serves a specific purpose, catering to the diverse needs of varying transportation businesses. By recognizing the advantages and features of each type, businesses can make informed decisions when it comes to selecting the appropriate freight truck for their specific requirement in order to optimize their operations. 

If you’re looking to further streamline your trucking business and optimize operations, consider leveraging advanced technology solutions like Rose Rocket’s Transportation Management System (TMS) software. With comprehensive features for managing dispatching, load planning, billing, and more, you can enhance efficiency, improve customer service, and drive growth in your trucking operations. Interested in learning more? Book a demo below and take your trucking business to new heights.

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