land freight truck transportation

10 types of land freight truck transportation

The types of land freight truck transportation are classified according to the merchandise that they can transport, the dimensions, or the structure, among other things.

Precisely, in this post we will explain in detail each of the classes that exist in the market and, of course, we will mention which ones represent a better cost-benefit ratio for motor transport organizations.

Do not forget that in our country land transport plays a fundamental role in the internal transfer and export of goods.

According to this article on the Dices.MX portal, 82% of the goods are transported by land in our country. On average, there are about 556 million tons of products per year, and the money generated by this activity is equivalent to about 3% of GDP.

Another important element is that 61% of international commercial exchanges were made through this mode of transport in 2018. And, speaking of our most important commercial partner, the United States, 82% of our exports with this country are thanks to land freight motor carriers.

Now, then, we will explain to you what are those types of land cargo truck transports are used in Mexico and other countries according to multiple classification criteria.

  1. Rigid trucks

They are the trucks with the smallest dimensions that can be found on the market. This is because the vehicle where the operator drives the motor carrier and the trailer are joined by a single indivisible piece, that is, they form the same structure.

This type of transport normally has a total length of 12 meters, including the trailer or the box, as well as a load capacity or MMA (maximum authorized mass) of 32 tons.

Generally, rigid trucks are used by delivery companies and merchandise distribution. Due to their characteristics, they are the most suitable for making parcel deliveries within urban areas.

  1. Articulated trucks

The big difference between articulated and rigid trucks is that, in the former, the driver’s cab and the trailer are not of the same structure. This means that they are two independent separate units that, depending on the needs of the company, can be used together or detached.

Another difference between rigid and articulated is that, for rigid, both the vehicle and the box share the same chassis.

Instead, jointed ones are made up of two or more blocks, joined by a jointed structure (hence the name). In this case, the tractor head is the one who carries out the towing and the merchandise travels in a semi-trailer.

There are several types of articulated trucks. Among the most important in the market are:


It is a type of freight transport designed to move goods over long distances, usually internationally.

It is made up of a part called the tractor-trailer and, on the other hand, the semi-trailer. The tractor is the cabin used to tow and the semi-trailer (also known as a platform) has the function of storing the goods.

When we think about the transport of products and goods on the great highways of the world, the most likely thing is that a trailer comes to mind.

Road train

In this case, it is a truck that is pulling more than one semi-trailer. The big difference concerning trailers is that it transports goods without the need for a trailer, as this only applies when additional space is needed.

The main difficulty with this type of land freight truck is that most of the world’s roads and highways are not designed to accommodate such a long vehicle.

So, transport companies have to plan their routes very well, study the roads and train their operators to be able to offer this mobilization service.

Mega trucks

Sure by its name you already have an idea. When we imagine the word mega, we think of something huge or giant and, precisely, they perfectly describe this model.

They are designed to transport huge quantities of merchandise and, although they are not the most massive type of merchandise transport, they can measure more than 25 meters and support 60 tons in a single trip.

To travel with this type of vehicle, it is necessary to have local authorization. They can reach speeds of up to 80 km / h.

This new way of distributing products around the world has emerged in response to the needs of the sector and economic and productive growth and, of course, globalization.

The great advantages offered by this type of land freight trucking are:

Cost reduction: Experts estimate that companies can reduce up to 50% of the expenses associated with the transport of goods in the long term.

Less pollution: By using a single vehicle to transport the same amount of merchandise as approximately two rigid trucks or trailers, fewer amounts of CO2 will be emitted into the atmosphere. According to the European Union, it spends 305,000 tons a year, thanks to this type of vehicle.

Smoother traffic: The decrease in the number of trucks on the roads may be visible if more of this type of cargo trucks are used, since, in some cases, the circulation of up to 3 cargo trucks can be avoided.

Road safety: Mega trucks are longer and taller than traditional vehicles, which requires more care and experience to carry them. In addition, logic says that the less driving, the fewer accidents can be caused.

Generally speaking, articulated and rigid trucks are the two largest groups on the market. However, we can find more types when we assess other aspects, such as cargo, for example.

  1. Open platform truck

This is one of those types of trucking based on cargo, and it is also very common to see them on our roads.

They are characterized by supporting heavy loads and, above all, by the lack of coverage in the semi-trailer.

It is usually common for the transport of construction-related materials since many of them are very heavy and of very different shapes, so they do not always fit in a truck box.

  1. Truck with tarpaulin

They are those in which the load is covered, both on the top and the sides, thanks to a removable canvas.

They are perfect for moving, loading, and unloading for their convenience and ease of disassembly. In addition, by their nature, they serve to move hundreds of different goods, such as wood, light metals, consumer products, among others.

Generally, canvas trucks are trailers or rigid for the convenience to supply them and transport the load.

  1. Refrigerated truck

When moving products that require constant cold temperatures, refrigerated, refrigerated, or insulated trucks are ideal.

There are several types of cold load trucks, these are:

Isothermal transport truck

This type of truck has walls in its body that isolate the external temperature to keep the cold or internal heat under limits.

Refrigerated transport truck

It falls into the isothermal category, however, it has a cold source to lower the temperature and maintain it during transportation.

Refrigerated transport truck

It has similarities to the previous one with the generation of cold, but it can take the internal temperature of the box to -20 ° C, depending on the specifications of the product or the goods.

These types of products are ideal for products such as:

  • seafood such as fish, mollusks that need to be frozen or deep-frozen at more than -10 ° C;
  • meats and derivatives that need temperatures below 7 ° C;
  • ice creams;
  • fruits and vegetables;
  • derived from milk;
  • medicines;
  • biochemicals.

In fact, there are international agreements such as the ATP or Agreement on International Freight Transport, which talks about the mobilization of loads of perishable products.

  1. Tanker truck

They are ideal for transporting liquid, gaseous or chemical goods, which have specific requirements.

They are very common for products or goods with ADR, or dangerous goods, where the ADR groups 13 types of classes based on the danger and characteristics of the substances, among which the following stand out:

Physical-chemical s: As explosives, oxidizers, flammable products, asphyxiants.

Toxicological: Corrosive or toxic products.

That affects health: Carcinogenic, mutagenic, sensitizing, among others.

That affects the environment.

  1. Closed truck

Enclosed trucks, unlike trucks with tarpaulins, have a fixed and rigid structure for their box or cargo compartment. To enter the goods or materials, there is only one way and it is through the back doors.

They are specially designed to move goods in urban areas or through parcel services. However, there are also articulated trucks, such as closed box trailers that serve this purpose.

  1. Car transporter

Car carriers are cargo vehicles specially designed to move other cars. In the market there are two models of them, these are:

Open car carrier

These are, as their name suggests, tracks that have a metal structure where they can carry one or more cards at the same time. They can be rigid or articulated, although an articulated or multi-trailer road train is usually preferred.

Closed car carrier

In cases where more confidentiality is required, there are car carriers with closed boxes, where vehicles are protected to a greater extent. They are common when it comes to mobilizing more expensive or collector cars.

  1. Cage truck

Generally used to move live animals, where they have a semi-trailer with the sides, the back, and even the roof, with holes or bars, which allows the necessary ventilation for the animals.

Many times we have seen these trailers on the roads, and they can be used both to move a single animal, such as racehorses, bulls, or zoo animals, as well as for the movement of several cattle, birds, or pigs.

  1. Container truck

These, normally, are semi-trailers adapted for the transport of multimodal materials, that is, the mobilization through different types of transport to carry out processes and operations of transshipment of materials and goods.

They are structures of watertight loads, destined to protect the merchandise of the meteorological or environmental conditions.

There is an infinity of things that can be transported with this type of truck, for example, hoppers used in construction, stakes such as logs, concrete mixers, armored vehicles to transport physical money, or precious metals, among others.

All these types of cargo truck transports, depending on the type of material, can range from light to giga-heavy. We will address these classes in the following lines.

We already mentioned the types of land cargo truck transportation according to their design, functionalities, loads, and other characteristics.

In turn, there are subclasses of them according to size, weight, and gas emission. Then you will know them!

Classification of cargo trucks according to their size

If you look at it, a rigid truck, for example, a refrigerator type or with a canvas, can be of different sizes and structures. And it is that, depending on the size of these transports, they fall into different categories, which have specific regulations and good management practices.

You may also like to read: Tips for safe international transport