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Everything You Need To Know About Short Haul Trucking

short haul trucking

The transportation industry is vital to the economy, and trucking plays a major role in keeping goods moving. Short haul trucking refers to the transportation of goods over relatively short distances, typically within a single state or province. 

While long haul trucking typically gets more attention, short haul trucking is also an important and vital part of the industry. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about short haul trucking, from the types of trucks and trailers used to the key considerations for choosing a carrier. Whether you’re a business owner looking to ship goods or a driver interested in pursuing a career in trucking, this article is for you.

What Is Short Haul Trucking?

Short haul trucking is a type of trucking that involves hauling loads over shorter distances, typically under 500 miles. This type of trucking can be done using either a semi-truck or a smaller commercial truck. 

This is typically used for hauling freight within the same state or between neighboring states. Many companies offer regional or local freight services, which means they only haul loads within a certain area. 

Short haul trucking is a popular option for many companies because it is less expensive than long haul trucking and can be completed in a shorter amount of time. This is a great option for companies that need to move freight within a shorter distance.

short haul trucking

Regional vs. Local

There are two types of short haul trucking: regional and local. 

  • Regional. These are typically companies within a larger area, which can include multiple states. These companies usually have a network of terminals and warehouses that they use to store and distribute the freight. 
  • Local. These companies only operate within a smaller area, which is usually just one state. These companies typically have fewer terminals and warehouses, and they only transport freight within a smaller radius.

How Does It Differ From Long-Haul?

Short haul trucking companies specialize in local or regional deliveries, while long haul trucking companies focus on cross-country or interstate shipments. This is typically defined as shipments of less than 250 miles, while long haul trucking is any shipment over 250 miles.

These companies usually have a smaller fleet of trucks and drivers and may not offer the same amenities as long haul trucking companies, such as on-board showers and sleeper cabs. Long haul trucking companies tend to have more modern fleets and offer more amenities to their drivers.

Long haul loads are generally larger and heavier than those typically shipped by short haul carriers, and may require special permits or handling. Long haul truckers also tend to be away from home for longer periods of time, which can be a challenge for some drivers.

short haul trucking

Pros Of Integrating Short Haul Trucking For Deliveries

Here are some of the benefits of using short haul trucking:

Drivers Can Be Locals

Short haul trucking can be an excellent way to have local drivers make your deliveries. This is due to the fact that these types of drivers are familiar with the area in which they will be driving. This can help to ensure that your products arrive on time and without any issues.

There is also the fact that local drivers tend to be more familiar with the roads and traffic patterns in their area. This can lead to a smoother delivery process and fewer delays.

Another benefit of using local drivers is that they are often able to get discounts on fuel. This can save you money on your overall shipping costs.

Set Schedules

When you use short haul trucking, you can often set up regular schedules for your deliveries. This can be beneficial if you have products that need to be delivered on a regular basis.

It can also be helpful if you need to have certain items delivered at specific times. Having a set schedule can help to ensure that your products are delivered when you need them.


Short haul trucking is often a more cost-effective option than long haul trucking. This is due to the fact that it generally requires less fuel.

It can also be cheaper to insure a short haul truck than it would be to ensure a long haul truck. This is because the risk of accidents is generally lower.

Short haul trucking can also be less expensive because it generally doesn’t require as much equipment. This means that you won’t have to invest in as much specialized equipment for your needs.

Allows You to Build Relationships with Local Businesses

 One of the best things about short-haul trucking is that it allows you to build relationships with local businesses. When you’re hauling loads for local companies, you get to know them and their products well, which can lead to repeat business. 

Local businesses are also more likely to be understanding if you ever have a problem with a delivery since they know you and your reputation. 

Additionally, this typically pays better than long-haul trucking. This is because short-haul loads are generally more time-sensitive and require more care, meaning companies are willing to pay a premium for reliable short-haul truckers.

trucking services

Difficulties For Short-Haul Trucking

Complex Routes

The trucking industry is large and ever-changing, which can make it difficult for companies to keep up with the latest information on routes. This can lead to inefficient use of time and resources, as well as missed delivery deadlines.

In addition, many short-haul trucking companies are not familiar with the complexities of some of the routes they are asked to take. This can lead to costly mistakes, such as getting lost or taking a wrong turn.

Loading and Unloading Delays

Another difficulty that short-haul trucking companies face is loading and unloading delays. This can be caused by a number of factors, such as traffic congestion, bad weather, or mechanical problems with the truck.

These delays can often be out of the control of the trucking company, which can lead to frustration from both the company and its customers.

Increased Competition

The trucking industry is becoming increasingly competitive, which is making it difficult to stay in business. Many companies are cutting costs by hiring inexperienced drivers or using older, less reliable trucks.

This can lead to a decrease in the quality of service and an increase in accidents. In addition, the increased competition is leading to lower prices, which can make it difficult for short-haul trucking companies to make a profit.

Days Can Be Long and Demanding

Another difficulty companies face is the fact that days can be long and demanding. Drivers often have to deal with traffic, bad weather, and long hours on the road.

This can be tough on both the drivers and the trucks, which can lead to accidents or breakdowns. In addition, it can be difficult for drivers to get enough rest, which can lead to fatigue and mistakes.

Detrack makes short haul trucking easier!

There is a lot to consider when it comes to short haul trucking. But if you do your research and know what to expect, it can be a great way to grow your business. This can be a great option for those who need to move small loads over short distances. 

The great new is that you don’t have to do it alone. Detrack can help with our affordable and reliable delivery management software which gives you last mile visibility for all your deliveries. Sign up for an account and try Detrack today.


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