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How to Ship Freight: Equipment Types and Services

Posted by Gary Hunt on September 20, 2017 - 8:01 AM
How to Ship Freight

Types of transportation equipment

The furniture in your home, the clothes you’re wearing, your vehicle, even the device you’re reading this on — most of the products and materials we use every day have been shipped in some way. How do these items get from the manufacturer to the store, or even from a warehouse to your home? Take a look at the different types of trucking equipment, trailers, planes and containers used to transport goods across the globe in our latest infographic.



Freight trucks and trailers

The primary difference between a truck and a trailer is that trucks (and vans) have a cargo area that’s permanently attached to the power unit or cab, while trailers require a power unit for transportation and are configured on single-, tandem- or tri-axles. The different types of trucks and trailers include:

  • Box truck (also called a straight truck)
  • Cargo van 
  • Flatbed trailer (variations include the step deck/drop deck, double drop, removable gooseneck, Conestoga and curtainside)
  • Semi-trailer (typically a 53’ enclosed trailer, this group also includes refrigerated vans and 28’ pup trailers)

Shipping containers

Containers are one of the most versatile types of shipping equipment. Used for over-the-road, rail and ocean shipping, containers come in a variety of sizes and are known by several different names. Freight containers also are called:

  • Intermodal containers
  • ISO containers
  • Sea containers
  • Ocean containers


Premium shipments and time-critical freight often are transported by air. The size of the shipment, type of cargo and any special handling requirements help determine what type of aircraft is used. Options include:

  • Passenger plane (carriers utilize spare volume in the plane’s baggage hold)
  • Charter plane (private aircrafts are often hired for critical shipments)
  • Cargo plane (designed exclusively for freight, not passengers)

Ship freight with ArcBest

Along with a full suite of supply chain services, ArcBest offers access to each of these equipment types for seamless shipping anywhere in the world. Learn more about our transportation and logistics solutions and how we help improve your supply chain functionality by calling 800-610-5544 or completing the contact form above.