Truck Classification and Shipping

Not all trucks are equal. Personal trucks, like a pickup truck for example, are not the best trucks for shipping freight. And shippers usually want to make sure that the largest trucks are used so that they can receive the most room for their shipments. The United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey Standards categorizes all trucks based on the operating mass of the truck. In essence, the more space in the truck, the higher the class.

Trucks for personal use, those trucks under 14,000 pounds, comprise trucking classes 1-3 and are considered to be light duty trucks. For trucks between 14,001 to 26,000 pound, they make up classes 4-6 and are medium duty trucks. While some of these medium duty trucks are used to fulfill some shipping needs, they are not the major standard vehicles uses for shipping truckload and LTL freight.

The highest classified trucks are classes 7 & 8, which are heavy duty. Both vehicles require a Class B license for driving in the US. Class 7 trucks are between 26,001 to 33,000 pounds and Class 8 trucks are over 33,000 pounds. Class 8 trucks include tractor-trailers, semis and big rigs. Because of their immense size, class 8 trucks are the preferred commercial vehicles for domestic freight shipping.

So whether you realize it or not, if you have ever shipped cargo through a freight forwarder, chances are that a Class 8 truck was used for your shipment. These trucks can hold more cargo, which is what shippers across the US are truly thankful for.