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What Are Big Shipping Trucks Called?

What's in this article?
  1. Unveiling The Names Big Truck Terminology
  2. Tractor-Trailer
  3. Semi-Truck
  4. Big Rig
  5. 18-Wheeler
  6. Anatomy Of Big Shipping Trucks Beyond The Monikers
  7. The Tractor
  8. The Trailer
  9. Powering The Supply Chain The Role Of Big Shipping Trucks
  10. Hauling Goods
  11. Long-Haul Vs Short-Haul Covering All Bases
  12. The Jargon Of Trucking
  13. Deadhead
  14. Bill Of Lading (Bol)
  15. Dispatch
  16. Hours Of Service (Hos)
  17. Detention Time
  18. A1 Auto Transport Your Partner In Truck Freight Shipping
What Are Big Shipping Trucks Called?

There's an innate fascination with shipping and logistics that is undeniable: those massive trucks whizzing down our highways - known as shipping trucks.

These mammoth carriers ensure goods can travel quickly from manufacturers through distribution centers to stores. But what are these behemoth carriers called?

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the fascinating world of shipping and logistics terminology, exploring names, design aspects, their pivotal roles in supply chains, and any specific language about them.

Unveiling the Names: Big Truck Terminology

See below for an exploration of the different names used to describe blog trucks:


At the core of the shipping industry lies the "tractor-trailer," an iconic vehicle that captures its essence with precision.

A tractor-trailer consists of an amalgamation of a truck (referred to as the "tractor") and a large trailer designed for cargo transportation; its name accurately portrays their relationship and their shared role, whereby one component propels and complements another to transport essential goods necessary to our economy.


Semi-truck is often used interchangeably with "tractor-trailer," providing an unusual perspective into their construction and configuration.

While most conventional trucks contain four wheels, a semi-truck stands out with its distinct feature: only its rear wheels have wheels relying solely on support provided by its tractor truck's four wheels for support, thus providing more excellent maneuverability for traversing highways and urban landscapes.


Big Rig

Step into any trucking conversation, and you will likely hear the phrase "big rig." This term captures the impressive grandeur of these massive transportation workhorses like mechanical titans dominating roadways.

While its roots date back decades before their use as transportation workhorses today, its meaning still brings admiration and respect from its audiences.


"18-wheeler" is one of the most well-known terms in trucking lingo, known to millions across the globe.

This name accurately portrays their configuration - 18 wheels total - including eight on each tractor unit, while their trailer portion contributes another 10. This setup increases their carrying capacity and ensures their distinctive presence on highways.

Anatomy of Big Shipping Trucks: Beyond the Monikers

Understanding the terminology is just the first step. To truly appreciate the role of big shipping trucks, one must delve into the intricacies of their anatomy.

The Tractor

The tractor is the heart of any trucking operation; housing its engine and control center are vital functions.

Drivers use control centers behind their wheels to navigate safely through traffic, while long-haul journeys provide sleeper cabins to rest during cross-country treks.

Finally, its fifth wheel provides seamless movement and articulation when connecting it with trailers - providing seamless training and expression during travels across country roads.

The Trailer

Behind every formidable tractor lies a trailer explicitly designed to transport its cargo.

Shipping and logistics offer various trailer types tailored to accommodate different goods; the most common is a dry van, which protects against weather elements, while flatbeds quickly transport large loads.

Refrigerated trailers ("reefers") feature advanced cooling systems to ensure perishables arrive fresh and unspoiled.

Powering the Supply Chain: The Role of Big Shipping Trucks

The significance of big shipping trucks within the shipping and logistics industry cannot be overstated. They are the vital conduits facilitating the movement of goods, driving the wheels of commerce forward.


Hauling Goods

Imagine a world without shipping trucks: products would remain stationary on store shelves, raw materials wouldn't reach factories for manufacturing, and resources needed for construction wouldn't get construction sites.

Big shipping trucks make the supply chain function smoothly by transporting goods over vast distances and keeping things flowing uninterruptedly from the source to the delivery point.

Long-Haul vs. Short-Haul: Covering All Bases

Long-haul and short-haul trucks represent two categories within big shipping trucks: marathon runners (long haul) and short-haul (short haul).

Marathon runners travel long distances across states or countries to deliver goods directly to their final destinations; short haulers operate more localized, shuttling cargo between neighboring cities and towns.

Big shipping trucks have an enormous influence beyond highways. They play a crucial role in economic expansion by facilitating goods exchange that underpins numerous industries and employing millions of drivers, mechanics, logistics experts, and support personnel in this sector.

The Jargon of Trucking

The trucking world boasts a lexicon that's as diverse as its cargo. These terms offer insights into the industry's inner workings, revealing the nuances that ensure smooth operations.


Deadhead refers to any journey taken while transporting an empty trailer, creating utilization challenges for trucking companies and when returning the open trailer to its point of origin.

Minimizing these miles is crucial to optimizing these businesses' efficiency and profitability.

Bill of Lading (BOL)

Bills of Lading (BOLs) are the unsung heroes of the shipping industry. This legal document is an all-inclusive contract outlining the type, quantity, and destination of goods being transported, acting as the protector for cargo throughout its journey.


Dispatchers play a vital role in shipping operations. These experts assign drivers and vehicles to specific loads, optimize routes, and ensure timely deliveries.

Dispatchers navigate a complex web of logistics, weather, and traffic patterns to orchestrate efficient performance.

Hours of Service (HOS)

Truck drivers must adhere to Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, which limit how long they can drive before mandatory rest periods are required. These HOS regulationsprotect driver safety by avoiding fatigue-related accidents on our highways and keeping travelers secure.


Detention Time

Detention time refers to any additional wait time a driver spends loading or unloading beyond their allocated window.

Although this delay may seem minor, excessive detention can have disastrous repercussions that impact driver schedules and overall supply chain efficiency.

A1 Auto Transport: Your Partner in Truck Freight Shipping

Logistics requires precision and reliability. When shipping goods across long distances, you need a partner you can rely on - A1 Auto Transport has decades of experience offering truck freight shipping services designed to ensure cargo reaches its destination without incident.

Our expert team understands the industry's nuances while offering tailor-made solutions specifically for you.

Ready for hassle-free truck freight shipping? Take the first step today with A1 Auto Transport's free quote and discover how our expert team of shippers and logistics providers can be your partner in successfully navigating through all the complexities involved with shipping and logistics - your cargo's journey begins here!

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Tamar Hela is one of our featured writers at A-1 Auto Transport, researching everything from AI auto shipments out of China to what paperwork is required to move long distance. We can safely say she's become well versed in all things shipping and logistics while making the information easy to digest and understandable. 

Tamar has been a copywriter for over 16 years and was trained in the 7-Figure Copywriting Accelerator course through American Writers & Artists, Inc. (AWAI). She's also an incredibly seasoned copyeditor, having previously been the Chief Editor and Publishing Director for Cosby Media Productions, based in Atlanta, Georgia. 

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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