Trucking 101 – Types of Trucking Companies

One of the best things about earning your CDL is that it opens a world of opportunities. At U.S. Truck Driver Training School, we know that our students can come in with a very clear idea of what they want to do after they get their license, or they can have no idea, and that’s okay! With such a variety of choices and opportunities, we’re here to help you break it down and figure out what road you want your new career to take. Let’s start with the different types of trucking companies in the United States.

Trucking companies move over 70% of all cargo across the United States annually, which makes them a critical part of the U.S. economy. A logistic trucking company does not merely haul goods from one point to another – it also manages a range of supply chair functions for each client according to their logistical requirements. There are several types of trucking companies that operate across the country, and each one plays a different role in the logistics and freight management industry. Let’s take a look at the common types of trucking companies and how they are different from one another.

First, we have private carriers. Some companies transport their goods from factories to distributors, retailers, consumers, and other methods of transportation, such as airplanes or ships. These are called private carriers. There are several large corporations with their own fleet of trucks to move their merchandise. In April of 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the number of private carriers in the country was 799,342.

Next, we have for-hire carriers, which is a logistic trucking company that charges a fee to move the cargo belonging to other entities. In April of 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were a total of 928, 647 for-hire carriers operating across the United States. Within this category, there are two main types of for-hire trucking carriers – common carriers and contract carriers. Common carriers transport goods from one place to another. They fulfill the freight shipping needs of both commercial and residential shippers. Meanwhile, some trucking companies sign contracts with selected shippers and only move their products. They are called contract carriers. Most common carriers can’t set their service fee, but contract carriers can set their rates through contracts.

Finally, we have local carriers, regional carriers, and national carriers. Local trucking carriers are only able to transport cargo to limited areas. Nearly 60% of all trucking company in the U.S. are local. Local carriers can only serve within 80 to 100 miles of the shipment location, according to the Surface Transportation Board. Regional trucking carriers have larger fleet and longer routes, but they are only able to move freight within a specific region. National carriers, or more commonly known as over-the-road or long-haul trucking, deliver goods across the country. These trucks travel across the states and work with large corporations. All of the largest trucking companies in the U.S. are considered national carriers.

Every logistic trucking company is different from the other based on its routes, licensing, and a host of other factors.  The trucking industry contributes significantly to the growth of the economy. According to the American Trucking Associations, trucks moved approximately 11.84 billion tons of freight in 2019, a 3% increase from the previous year. We are so grateful that you’ve chosen U.S. Truck Driver Training School to help you become a part of this vital industry, and if you need any help figuring out what you would like to do with your CDL or want kind of company you would like to drive for, make sure you make an appointment with Career Services and ask questions!

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