What is a Straight Truck - All You Need to Know

While we’re familiar with the lumbering giants of the highway, we must absolutely recognize the unsung heroes weaving through traffic delivering essential items to our doorsteps day in day out - Straight trucks.

This article aims to explain everything you will need to understand about straight trucks including the types of straight trucks, different freights, advantages and its disadvantages.

What is a straight truck


A straight truck is a single-frame vehicle where all axles, including the cargo box, are permanently attached. Think of it as a sturdy, built-in trailer, often seen as box trucks for furniture deliveries or local hauls.

While their payload capacity might not match the behemoths of the highway, straight trucks are the undisputed champions of short-haul deliveries. They're the workhorses you see buzzing around town, delivering everything from furniture and appliances to boxes full of online shopping treasures.

What are the types of freight carried by straight trucks

A straight truck driving by terraces

As there is a diverse range of straight trucks, they are capable of transporting a diverse range of freight as well. Some of the most common types include:

  1. Retail and consumer products
  2. Machine parts and industrial supplies
  3. Building materials and construction supplies
  4. Perishables and temperature-sensitive goods
  5. Waste and recycling materials

The specific types of freight handled by straight trucks can vary depending on the truck's configuration, region, and industry.

Fun Fact
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According to SeaRates, there are approximately 3.5 million truck drivers across the US and trucking dominates the US with 70% goods moved by trucks.

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Types of straight trucks

a red reefer truck in an urban street

Straight trucks come in various sizes, categorized from Class 3 to Class 8 based on weight and capacity. The diversity extends to body styles, with box trucks, refrigerated vans, flatbeds, tankers, and dump trucks among the popular choices. Here are some of the most common straight trucks used to transport goods from one point to another.

Box truck

Box trucks represent a prevalent category within the realm of straight trucks. These trucks are renowned for their compact design, which renders them more reliable and agile as compared to various other types of trucks. Because of its enclosed cargo space and ease of loading/unloading, these types of straight trucks are particularly suited for moving a wide range of general cargo.

Some other notable benefits of box trucks is that they’re fuel efficient, don’t need costly maintenance fees to keep them running, and they don’t require a pulling trailer. These factors also make them a preferred choice for numerous freight forwarders, transport companies, and manufacturers, facilitating the movement of cargo to customers or alternative destinations.

Cube truck

Essentially, cube trucks are a smaller type of box truck with a cargo box shaped in a cuboid form and the cabin is separate from the cargo compartment area.

Cube van

Cube vans are generally classified as the smallest form of box trucks with the smallest frame. Just like the cube truck and a standard box truck, the cabin and the cargo compartment are separate from each other.

Dump truck

Dump trucks are single-frame vehicles equipped with a hydraulically-operated bed that tilts. These are perfect vehicles for transporting loose raw materials such as gravel or sand as the vehicle is designed to unload them with ease. They come in various configurations, from standard rear-dump trucks to side-dump and semi-trailer end-dump types. Their ruggedness and high payload capacity renders them essential for businesses involved in construction sites or landscaping projects.

Heavy duty pickup truck

Heavy duty pickup trucks come in a range of sizes and they are great at transporting equipment, materials, or even small boats. Modern heavy duty pickup trucks tend to also be equipped with four-wheel drive capabilities to tackle rugged terrain with ease, making them ideal for navigating through remote locations and challenging environments.

Reefer truck

Reefer trucks are essentially box trucks with a refrigerated cargo compartment which makes them most ideal for transporting perishable cargo or goods such as fruits and vegetables, frozen foods, pharmaceuticals or vaccines. The integrated temperature control systems in all reefer trucks is designed to help preserve product integrity and freshness throughout the delivery journey.

Pro Tip
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Having trouble communicating your shipping criteria via phone or email to your carriers or freight forwarders? Cargobase’s procurement platform enables you to state and send your shipping criterias in a concise manner for maximum clarity and efficiency.

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Advantages of a straight truck

A straight truck driving by a mountain highway

There are many reasons why straight trucks are more commonly seen on the road than you can imagine. Here are some of the advantages they are most renowned for:

  1. Maneuverability: Straight trucks generally are smaller in size and are designed with a shorter wheelbase, which makes them nimble and agile to navigate through tight city streets, narrow alleys, or even remote locations in some situations. This translates to faster deliveries and reduced risk of damage during tight maneuvers.

  2. Fuel efficiency: Compared to semi-trucks, straight trucks are relatively more fuel-efficient due to their smaller size and lighter weight.

  3. Lower environmental impact: Being fuel efficient also leads to reduced emissions which makes straight trucks a more environmentally friendly option, contributing to a greener supply chain.

  4. Lower operating costs: Aside from being fuel efficient, straight trucks do not require as much maintenance and insurance as compared to semi-trucks. Their simpler design and less complex systems make them easier and cheaper to maintain, which also leads to lower operating costs.

  5. Flexibility: Straight trucks come in various sizes and configurations, from box trucks and refrigerated units to flatbeds and dump trucks. This versatility allows them to handle a wide range of cargo types and sizes, catering to diverse needs.

  6. Driver availability: Driving a straight truck typically requires a standard driver's license in most regions, making it easier and faster to find qualified drivers compared to semi-trucks, which requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Disadvantages of a straight truck

A red reefer truck surrounded by magnolias

While straight trucks have a ton of advantages, they do also carry a couple of disadvantages that are worth noting.

  1. Limited payload capacity: Compared to semi-trucks, straight trucks have a significantly lower payload capacity, typically ranging from 5,000 to 45,000 pounds. This makes them unsuitable for large-scale, long-distance shipments or transporting bulky cargo exceeding their capacity.

  2. Higher cost per unit load: While operating costs might be lower overall, straight trucks can be more expensive per unit of cargo transported compared to semi-trucks. This is because the fixed costs of the driver, fuel, and vehicle are spread across a smaller payload.

  3. Long distance limits: Due to their smaller engines and lower max speeds as compared to semi trucks, straight trucks tend to not be as efficient when it comes to longer distance deliveries.

  4. Loading and unloading limitations: While many straight trucks have roll-up doors or side access, their enclosed cargo space might be too small to transport bulky or oddly shaped cargo, which should be better suited to be onboard flatbed trailers on semi-trucks instead.

Strategizing the use of straight trucks

By properly factoring in its advantages and disadvantages, straight trucks can prove to be valuable assets as a part of a road freight strategy, especially when the strategy is being implemented via a capable transportation management system.

With Cargobase, you’ll be able to seamlessly manage your straight truck operations, communicate with your preferred carriers/freight forwarders, and track their performance - all on a single platform.

Contact us to find out more about how Cargobase can be your freight management partner that simply gets ship done.

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