The Different Types of Trucking Assignments

How familiar are you with the different kinds of trucking assignments that our nation’s carriers use to move cargo from one point to another?

What is long-haul trucking?

Long haul trucking, also known as over-the-road trucking, is any assignment where the distance to be traveled is too long to cover in a single day, typically 250 miles or more. A long-haul driver is usually required to spend the night on the road in order to deliver their cargo. These trips often require crossing state lines and it’s not uncommon for a long-haul truck driver to traverse the nation from coast to coast. In fact, if a trip is very lengthy and must be accomplished quickly, two drivers sometimes share the cab, taking turns driving and sleeping so that the truck is always moving forward. Long haul trucking is a challenging job that requires not only many hours driving and days away from home, but also familiarity with national regulations pertaining to truckers as well as with the different road and cargo-handling regulations in each state along the route.

Long-haul trucking transports the majority of American consumer goods and other freight and is a pivotal component of the nation’s supply chain. These truckers earn accordingly, earning the highest drivers’ salaries in the industry.

What does short-haul mean in trucking?

While there are no precise boundaries or exact definitions of long haul vs. short-haul trucking, a good guideline to keep in mind is that short-haul truckers typically deliver a load within a 150-mile radius. While the current supply chain crisis is reducing the number of “turns” – round trips from a port or warehouse to a destination point – that some drivers can make in a day, a short-haul trucker might typically deliver three or four loads in a single shift. Short-haul truckers are bound by different regulations and cultivate a different set of skills than their long-haul colleagues do. Short haulers often have to navigate narrow local roads in a large truck, back up to loading docks to deliver, and manage other tricky driving maneuvers. Despite this, because they do not have to log their hours or sacrifice time at home with their families, short-haul truck drivers typically earn less than long-haul truck drivers do.

What is the difference between truckload and LTL?

When shipping cargo, a shipper has the choice between Full Truckload (often abbreviated FTL or TL) and also known as Over the Road (OTR) and Less than Truckload (LTL). FTL is the best choice when the cargo will fill the truck’s entire trailer, when the load is fragile or otherwise sensitive, or when the shipper has a firm deadline for pickup and delivery. For smaller loads, or those with flexible schedules, LTL is the way to go. 

An LTL driver will make several pickup and delivery stops along a predetermined and optimized route. LTL requires patience from shippers and careful logistics from carriers, but saves money for all involved.

Are you ready to learn more? Talk to a Fleet Advisor today.

What does a hotshot trucker do?

Hot shot trucking (also referred to as hotshot trucking) refers to the delivery of a small, time-sensitive load on deadline. While hotshot trucking is sometimes done with an 18-wheeler, it’s more often accomplished with smaller vehicles including pickup trucks, vans, and trailers. 

Hotshot truckers, brokers, and shippers usually connect on a load board, a website where truckers and shippers communicate to find their next job or carrier. 

Most hotshot truckers are independent owner-operators. While many reports that they appreciate the flexibility of their job, they also say that uncertainty around the next load can be frustrating and worrisome. Further, because hotshot truckers do not work as part of a fleet, they have to absorb all the costs of owning and operating their vehicle, which can eat away at payment.

What does last-mile delivery mean?

Most shipped items have lengthy journeys from the factory to the consumer. There might be a long haul from the factory to a port, a journey overseas in a container, another long haul to a warehouse, a short-haul to a distribution center and – finally! – a quick trip to its ultimate destination. In the trucking industry, the last mile and final mile are both phrases that refer to that final stage. 

Light goods that are small enough for delivery by the US Postal Service, UPS, or other carriers are brought to homes and offices across the country by drivers in small trucks and vans who “ring and run,” handing the package to a recipient or leaving it in a safe location. Heavier and larger items such as furniture, electronics, or other equipment often require a semi-truck and complicated logistics to complete their journeys via LTL or hotshot trucking and “white glove service” including installation. 

Last-mile trucking is the most expensive and time-consuming component of cargo delivery. 21st-century technology is making it easier than ever before for business owners and fleet managers to boost profits by tracking vehicles and loads, ensuring a fully active fleet through scheduled maintenance, planning optimized routes, and more.

If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help to improve safety, increase productivity and reduce costs for your business, speak with one of our knowledgeable Fleet Advisors at 866-320-5810 or get a quick Custom Quote.


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