What is general freight trucking?

Unlike specialized freight trucking, which hauls freight like petroleum products, refrigerated goods, forest products, and dangerous/hazardous materials and requires flatbeds, tankers, or refrigerated trailers, general freight trucking doesn’t require specialized equipment. It is generally palletized and carried in a box, container, or van trailer.

For its part, local general freight trucking primarily operates within a metropolitan area and its hinterland (which may cross state lines), transporting items like produce to different grocery stores, lumber from the lumber yard to construction sites, and debris.

But long-distance general freight trucking transports goods between distant areas (for example, from city to city and sometimes between the United States and Canada or Mexico), using the following two modes:

  • The truckload (TL) mode entails moving a full single load from origin to destination.
  • The less-than-truckload (LTL) mode consolidates multiple shipments headed to the same general geographic area onto a single truck for multiple deliveries. LTL carriers run networks of freight terminals, and LTL freight moves via large trucks or another transportation mode, like rail or ship, depending on price and service considerations.

The general freight trucking industry also provides local pickup, local sorting, line-haul, destination sorting and local delivery services.

Where is general freight trucking heading?

The Census Bureau’s most recent data indicates that there are approximately 66,451 firms within the trucking industry, most of which provide general freight trucking, long-distance services. And according to Sageworks’ industry data, the industry’s net profit margin during the last 12 months was 4.29 percent. During this same time, the average gross profit margin was 60.23 percent.

General freight trucking volumes declined during the pandemic. Still, the industry is now poised to grow globally, according to the Research and Markets report “Outlook on the General Freight Trucking Global Market to 2030 – Identify Growth Segments for Investment.” The report forecasts that the market will reach $997.35 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 8%.

If your business is poised to grow, Optym’s Axele and HaulSuite solutions help you move all your freight–from TL and LTL to local, last-mile deliveries. Axele serves for-hire truckload operators and private fleets that haul general freight, dry van, flatbed, and refrigerated loads. The Axele TMS integrates with load boards, ELDs, market rates, maps, and accounting systems, to enable an owner-operator or carriers to find better loads, increase profits, and grow their business. For more information about Axele, go to www.axele.com.

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