This is an idea that came to me because it comes up with people who are looking for jobs and such and are not sure of what counts as experience and what doesn't and I think someone my self will categorize exactly how the transportation industry works from whole sale transport down all the way to distribution. Sometimes it's hard and a complex web and worth of explanation.
What you have in the industrialized system is 3 tiers
End User Customers
The Manufacturers are the people that actually make the goods them selves they are the producers. They take the raw materials and process them into a tangible product. These companies rely on the basic whole sale common carrier or railroads to bring them in there raw materials used for making what ever product they make.
As far as trucks go these companies are served usually by common whole sale transportation providers like Schneider, Celadon, CR England, Swift, JB Hunt, Werner etc etc. Valley Transport of Ashland, Ohio companies like that, who bring in raw materials to be processed.
The truck load carriers generally carry one load of goods at one time for one customer going to another place pretty much A to B. A steel coil from a steel plant in Baltimore needs to go to a steel processing plant in Cleveland to be cut down and turned into smaller pieces of steel to be made into automobile fenders in Oakville, Ontario Canada. A truck load carrier like Valley transport takes the steel coil from Baltimore to Cleveland drops it off at Shilo Steel in Cleveland where they process the coil and make it suitable for automotive use.
Then another truck load carrier:
Would then pick up the steel pieces and take them to the automobile assembly plant in Canada. Which is a lot of what dry van freight companies do. They are moving large quantities of commodities often times multiple loads from A-B every day. The usually price customers based on production so they know okay the shipper needs to ship 1,000,000 pounds of metal to make automobile frames a day it takes 2 days to get the frames there every day the receiver needs a million pounds that's about 25 truck loads so we need to have a constant flow of traffic in and out so we need roughly 25 trucks a day picking up loads at this shipper so they figure there millage and pricing and roughly that's a 14-20 million dollar a year account. Any how the sleeper cab 53' foot trucks are the trucks that haul the large commodities from Manufacturer to Manufacture to ware house distributor.
A whole sale distributor though is not a manufacturer they are the first link in the distribution chain. A manufacturer and manufacturer make a product once that product is made say it's auto parts those auto parts will go from the manufacturer to the warehouse whole sale distributor.
This is where truck load carriers also work. A load of finished automobile fenders may then be purchased and bought by A&H Auto Supply and whole sale so a truck load carrier once again 53' dry van company will take the load of now finished fenders to A&H Auto Supply in Searcy, Arkansas.
Once again dry van freight.
However this isn't all the time. Say fender sales on a particular model are slowing down and A&H Auto Parts Whole sale doesn't need an entire 53' dry van load of automobile fenders. Well no problem maybe they only need 2 or 3 skids. Well that's no problem non at all that's where the LTL companies come in.
Then we have LTL trucks.
There's are what would be called your distribution trucks.
The fender company in Canada see A&H ordered 3 skids of fenders so they call there LTL shipper and create a shipment going to A&H auto parts in Searcy, Arkansas.
The LTL company comes with there city unit:
Sometimes it's a 28' trailer and sometimes it's a bigger unit like a 48' trailer or other times it maybe a straight truck depends on the company and the operation and who is available to get what.
These trucks are out and about all day collecting the freight to bring back to the terminal.
Lets review these kinds of trucks:
First you have your "long box" 45-53' dry van that is used for pick up and delivery at bigger more industrialized loading dock customers. However not all the time sometimes these trucks have lift gates to go to stops that do not have a typical loading dock. These trucks are can load many shipments and can make many deliveries and pick ups through out the day.
This truck is an Estes City unit single axle truck with a longer trailer headed to an industrial area to drop off and pick up freight.
However 48-53' trailers do not work good for everything in the delivery and distribution world and often times there main purpose is to service warehouse to warehouse or more modernized accounts.
However there is a solution for that.
A lot of customers can not fit 48-53' trailers on to there lots and have no need for quantities of that magnitude anyhow, instead the distribution world employees 28' trailers.
Here is a Conway (now out of business) city truck it's a little Freightliner M2 tractor probably an automatic pulling a lift gate trailer. This is a unit that is used for heavy delivery in the city. This unit probably goes into residential areas and light/medium commercial area's where the receivers to do not have loading docks and the freight has to be taken off via a lift gate. It could also service a heavy delivery stop with no dock.
I'll have to continue this and start a new post I reached the amount of pictures I can upload.
The Different Types of Trucks (Lots of Pictures)
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Another example of trucks engaged in heavy delivery to end user customers are trucks like these:
This truck is comparable to the Conway truck above. This truck while usually not employed by LTL companies is employed by private fleets more often then not.
These "10 wheelers" as they are called are like mini truck load movers. They usually are used by private fleets meaning a manufacturer to haul a manufacturers own goods to the end user or shuttle a few skids of smaller parts from plant to plant around town. They usually do not haul general freight but specific commodities for specific companies or are owned by the producing firm it's self.
These trucks are used in heavy delivery and when I say heavy delivery I mean a customer who may buy a lot of product, but doesn't have the means to take an entire skid of something or need a truck load.
These trucks can be loaded fairly heavy and can get onto most end user customers properties and can navigate neighborhoods that some tractor trailers can't do well. Since they are usually only hauling a set of goods for the same company and not general freight they don't need them to switch out trailers and stuff and will get to that in a minute so they opt not to go with trailers and keep it one piece. Yes a 28' trailer can do mostly what these trucks are doing, if not a tad more, however that Serve Ice truck and that Conway truck are pretty similar in size and scope.
These trucks are built to do a specific job and haul very specific things.
These trucks are called 16 tons in post office lingo thatnks to @Sho Nuff for providing picture and lingo.
and can service both dock and non dock customers and can be loaded fairly heavy and go all day. Trust me for all of you who say they aren't a big deal just try to unload one you'll see how much they can load in one.
That Service Ice truck can probably handle 700-800 sacks of Ice at 25-50lbs a piece and all that is hand delivered with a two wheel ice dolly that ends up being a lot of ice and weight at the end of the day.Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
We then have like I said in the heavy delivery world lift gate trucks:
The lift gate can hold an entire skid and bring it down right off the back of the trailer.
Trucks like these service more modernized medium heavy commercial accounts. Like your bigger mall plaza retail stores some have docks some don't but they have bigger back doors or maybe a garage door in the back. With these accounts tractor trailer units can usually find there way into and out of these lots in order to make deliveries.
Sometimes these accounts do not need lift gate service they may have there own tow motor so the tow motor drives to the back of the trailer takes off the skids that are there's and away they go.
Works out well for everyone involved.
These trucks can be 28,45-53' in trailer length.
Just depends on the route, the company the equipment available and how the routing worked out that day.
This is an ABF city unit on Brookpark Road in Cleveland, Ohio. This is a heavy industrial area with many different industries this truck is probably right now running around making drop offs getting ready to be emptied out so it can make pick ups later on.
We also have cartage trucks and other special trucks engaged in heavy delivery and pick up.
Cartage trucks usually haul a skid or two of heavy commodities that are to big for a courier company, but need to be delivered that same day and quickly. There shipments are to big for cargo van couriers, but need to move to fast and be more flexible then what an LTL system can do. These are smaller heavier hauls that are not going a great distance, but need to be picked up and dropped off and even repicked up and taken back where they came from in the same day.
This is a cartage truck for UPS's Cartage division.
Say the fender company in Canada that were talking about needs to have there fenders taken to the painter. Say the painter is across town, well as the fenders come off the line they can be loaded onto the cartage truck the cartage truck can then boogie across town drop off the fenders that need paint pick up 6-10 skids of painted fenders what ever the painter has available and take those back to the fender factory where they can be packaged and prepped for shipment to A&H Autoparts in Searcy, Arkansas or whoever the distributor customer is.
These trucks are usually lighter and flexible and can haul general goods freight almost any place and are real good for shuttling things across the town, county, or region. They by pass the traditional LTL spoke and hub system and almost work as a Taxi Cab in a way for the heavy industry.
Then you do have cargo van couriers
These guys are hauling smaller loads and small shipments that are important to somebody and need to be picked up right away. Usually medical supplies or legal documents. These guys are pretty much the guys who bat clean up for the transportation industry.
When I worked for a courier the woman who owned the company said if I could get a 2500 3/4 ton cargo van there would be plenty of work because MedLine and other companies like that were always looking for cargo van couriers to run up to there warehouse in Detroit pick up a van load of medical supplies and take it to medical practices or a regional hospital.
These drivers typically own there own vehicles and can be dispatched from anywhere and usually lease there vehicles on to a certain firm. They make small deliveries or do small hauls and are more flexible then UPS, FedEx etc etc. Usually they are employed in same day ordering and delivery. Meaning I place an order at 8am and by noon or earlier that order is at my door step.
Then we have expedited trucks:
These are trucks that bat clean up for the big truck load carriers. Say Duzenberg automobiles in Hampton Rhodes, VA receives a truck load shipment of fenders, but finds out what they were shorted 3 skids. Well that throws off there automobile production and that can't be.
So they call up the fender company in Canada and start with the posturing and screaming and yelling and the "I'll have your behind on a platter talk."
Well the automobile company calls down to shipping and it turns out they left 3 skids on the dock and those skids need to get to Hampton Rhodes, VA yesterday.
Well no fair call up your friendly neighborhood expediting company. Big or small one skid or an entire 53' trailer load those guys will get you going.
These are expedited trucks they serve to pick up all the slack the truck load carriers leave behind. The shipping manager at the fender company calls up Panther Expedited says they left 3 skids on the dock and those skids were supposed to be in Hampton Rhodes, VA a day ago. Panther Expedited says no problem with in a hour a expedited truck shows up at the fender plant cuts in line gets loaded and paper work is printed up and then boogies on down to VA.
These trucks are usually straight trucks with sleeper cabs they go across the country and stay out on the road for long periods of time and are usually driven by a team of people. And can handle, dock, lift gate and refrigerated freight. Oh by the way all this expediting comes at a premium cost.
Anyhow now that we explained what some of the different trucks used for heavy delivery are, we can get back to our fender company and A&H auto parts.
So A&H auto parts needs 3 skids of fenders it's not an emergency order so the LTL city truck shows up at the fender company and picks up the skids.
The skids are then taken back to the LTL companys terminal in that city think of the LTL system similar to an air line system. You have regional air ports and major hub air ports. The LTL world is really no different spoke and hub.
The city's LTL terminal is like a regional air port. Then the freight is sorted and separated and shipped off to either another citys regional LTL terminal if there is a trailer load or two going there, or sent to the big LTL hub terminal.
Maybe a city LTL terminal has 10 skids going to Detroit and 10 skids going to Toledo, so what they do is load the 10 skids going to Detroit in one trailer and the 10 skids going to Toledo in another trailer and hook booth trailers together. This is called pulling doubles and the LTL truck say it's leaving Cleveland, Ohio can go and take the trailers from Cleveland to Toledo and Detroit. Say there's a third trailer that was dropped at the turnpike drop plaza area coming from farther east the trailer gets dropped and the Cleveland driver can pick it up say it's also going to Detroit. That LTL truck from Cleveland can then take 1 trailer to Toledo and 2 trailers to Detroit for delivery the next day.
This is called LTL line haul where they pull doubles or triples.
Now some operations do not always pull doubles say a regional terminal has a bunch of freight they cannot get to in there area as far as line haul runs go. No problem. They load the stuff up and send it to the big break bulk terminal. They make a big truck load shipment out of all the pick ups they collected that day and send it straight for the big break bulk or hub terminal.
This is where you sometimes see turnpike doubles or longer trailers employed in line-haul use depending on the operation of course and what equipment is available. Some times it's regular doubles as well just load two trailers and send them to the break bulk terminal if that's how the company operates. Also depends on what roads they travel.
These are all freight trucks hauling massive movements greater distances from city to city or maybe across the state to another state to hand off.
Once a shipment enters the LTL system it is pretty much set in motion until it reaches it's final destination.
Now the second kind of trucks you have are delivery fleets which are your more interesting trucks and equipment.
A&H Auto Parts in Searcy, Arkansas has a warehouse and they have a name brand like Quality Driven Auto Parts, so what A&H Auto Parts Whole Sale does is send a salesman out and signs up auto parts stores to be dealers of Quality Driven Auto Parts.
So that's where you see sings like KINGS AUTOMOTIVE PARTS a Quality Driven Auto Parts Dealer.
So what happens is Kings automotive gets set up in the system to be a dealer for Quality Driven Auto Parts and every time they ring the cash register or create an invoice that sale is tracked and sent to A&H Auto Parts Whole Sales warehouse and A&H Auto Parts Whole Sale knows that Kings Automotive gets a delivery once a week on Wednesday and Tuesday night comes and they are looking at Kings Automotive's sales report and sending it down to the warehouse to assemble a restock order for Kings Automotive.
So A&H Autoparts apparently has a fancy fleet of pretty Kenworths with small sleepers (they have some far reaching runs) loads up a store delivery truck maybe a skid or two, a long with a few other stores orders and sends that driver off to make the deliveries to the retail outlets.
So you have delivery trucks like the one pictured above which is a straight truck with a lift gate because not all of A&H's stores that they deliver too, have docks and what often times happens is the driver has to bring the skid down on the lift gate:
This truck is a 36' trailer these trailers are often employed by delivery distribution fleets to end user customers engaged in medium to heavy commercial stop delivery. These service medium and large format stores or restaurants.
These are heavy duty delivery trucks.
They have different kinds of trailers. Some are regular dry van, but others are temperature controlled and used to haul different commodities.
This trailer here is called a "side by side" thank you to @LoneCowboy for providing the proper name.
These trucks are used in both heavy delivery distribution as well as truck load moves.
These trailers are temperature controlled and can be set up to have one section freezing cold and another section cool like a cooler. These trailers service usually chain in modernized commercial area's that get large shipments of food to carry out there operation. The reason they are called side by sides is because you have two doors right next to each other side by side on the trailer. One door is cooler and the other door is freezer and the drive sets up a ramp and unloads each compartment with what ever that particular stop ordered.
Then you have other delivery fleets like this dairy hauling fleet.
These trucks are set up to deliver to stores, hospitals schools and places in between. They carry mostly milk and other associated diary products. These trailers are also temp controlled but usually not freezing and do many places and make some big deliveries.
Sometimes though these firms have stops that are to big for there big trucks or they have a different set of routes for schools and things in that case they employee there fleet of straight trucks.
These trucks can back into docks or unload out the side for non-dock customers they are pretty versatile in the producer to end user customer delivery world.
There are many different kinds of trucks, but these are the most common kinds for delivery and distribution fleets which are different then standard OTR truck load fleets.
Thank you all for reading and have a happy Easter.
This is from Francois okay the french part of Canada, but this is a broad line food service 26' truck used in heavy delivery to restaurants.
16-10 Ten Wheelers are very popular in the Toronto-Quebec area of Canada more popular there then in the United States of America. It has something to do with weight laws and the nature of some of there routes that have some real "close calls"
Anyhow these are the kinds of trucks used in end user delivery and distribution which is different from truck load hauling.
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