In general there are a number of ways a carrier can classify themselves. This article is meant to break down the different types of carriers and how they can be classified.
Carriers can further classify themselves based off of other classifications such as:
- For-Hire Truckload (TL)
- Usually a Broker/Shipper/Freight Forwarder is paying for the full capacity of the trailer.
- Shipments will typically weigh more than 10,000 lbs
- Goes from one shipping dock to one receiving dock
- For-Hire Less than Truckload (LTL)
- Picks up multiple loads from Shippers/Brokers/Freight Forwarders
- May drop off to one location or more than one depending on shipments that are loaded on to the one trailer.
- Team Drivers
- Two drivers for the same truck.
- Used for time sensitive freight
- Allows the truck to virtually run non-stop.
- Owner/Operators or Independent Drivers
- Those who own/lease and drive their own trucks.
- Carriers who have a load from a forward destination, but that need a load back to their origin. In other words, the carriers has an A>B; they need the B>A.
- Note: Some carriers have started to not believe in the term "backhaul" because some believe it automatically reduces a rate a Broker/Shipper/Freight Forwarder might offer. So, they push that anything classified as a backhaul is actually a new load that stands on its own.
- Bobtailing/Power Only
- This is where a carrier is operating the truck with no trailer attached. This can be how a carrier normally operates, but this can also be when a carrier needs to move the truck without a trailer. Sending their truck off for service, or driving home can be an example of someone bobtailing.
Other classifications can be made around the routes a carrier takes. These include:
- Dedicated Routes
- These are carriers that stick with a consistent origin to destination and back again. They don't typically stray too far from this.
- This is a carrier who is traveling all over the US and is not usually home.
- This is a carrier that's also called an Over-The-Road (OTR) carrier
- Regional Routes
- This type of carrier is someone who sticks to a predefined area or region such as Oregon, Washington and Idaho.