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Most Common Types of Truck Freight

  • March 10, 2020
  • Madeline S.

Whether you’re a truck driver or a trucking dispatcher, it’s important to know the various types of freight loads carriers often offer. It may surprise you how many there are. Here is a quick rundown of the most common types of truck freight.

Less-Than-Load (LTL)

Less-Than-Load trucks refer to when a truck isn’t carrying its maximum freight capacity. It’s one of the most popular freight shipping forms because it’s cost-effective for both carriers and shippers. Instead of paying for an entire truckload when shipping small amounts of freight, LTL allows businesses to combine their freight with other businesses to reach a full truckload.

Hot Shot

Hot shot trucking is similar to LTL in that they both transport smaller amounts of freight. Hot shot is more tailored towards expedited shipping, though. Hot shot services tend to use smaller vans and make multiple stops to drop off small amounts of freight.

Dry Van

A dry van is what most people picture when they think of commercial trucks. It’s the most common type of truck and is usually what new drivers start with. A dry van is a trailer used to haul dry or non-perishable goods.


A reefer truck is a specialized trailer with air conditioning to maintain a consistent temperature. Reefers are used to haul perishable goods and medication. Reefers are not only used to keep items cool, though. They’re also used in colder climates to keep goods from freezing or getting too cold.

Flat Bed

A flat bed refers to a trailer that can haul anything from scaffolding to airplanes. If it doesn’t fit in a standard trailer, it will probably be shipped on a flat bed. As the name implies, a flat bed is level and open on all sides.

Low Boy

A lowboy is a type of trailer with two drops in the trailer to create a divot in the middle. This deck is much lower than other trailers. Lowboys are used to carry tall or oversized items and are often used to cart heavy equipment around, such as bulldozers.


Tankers are most used to haul liquids - anything from milk to gasoline. Drivers who hope to haul tankers have to undergo special training since the center of gravity is constantly changing and they are prone to rolling over.

Bull Hauler

Bull haulers, also called livestock trailers or cattle liners, are trailers specially designed to transport live animals. Livestock transportation comes with extra regulations in order to be humane to the animals. These trailers feature open parts for air circulation.

Auto Hauler

Auto haulers, also known as car carrier trailers, are specially designed to haul all types of vehicles. They often have two layers when transporting smaller personal vehicles. They can be open or closed depending on the trailer and have built-in ramps for loading and off-loading vehicles.

Box Truck

A box truck is smaller than most other commercial trucks. This type of truck is what is usually used to move households, deliver packages, and more. They’re typically used for smaller, last-mile deliveries.

Want to learn more about the trucking industry and launch your career? Enroll in one of AVAAL’s comprehensive training courses!