Terminal tractors are a common sight these days around ports, freight yards, and distribution facilities. But did you know that these unique vehicles have a fascinating legacy? It’s true. With that in mind, here are four facts you may not know about the history of the terminal tractor.
Fact Number One: Terminal Tractors Are a Post-War Invention
Terminal tractors first appeared in the 1950s as a result of the economic boom that followed World War II. The need to deliver goods more efficiently inspired warehouse managers to develop a new type of vehicle intended specifically for intra-yard use. Thus the original terminal truck, known as a “yard hustler,” was created.
Those early examples were primitive compared to today’s models. But they pointed the way to a new era in product distribution that continues to this day.
Fact Number Two: Modern Terminal Tractors Are Technological Marvels
Today’s terminal tractors are light years beyond those built just a few years ago. Not only are they safer, but they’re also easier to operate, with ergonomic pushbutton controls and automatic transmissions. Exiting the vehicle is quick and simple, while expansive windows allow for 360° views.
Another innovation is the growing popularity of terminal tractor rental, which offers many advantages over buying a truck outright, such as flexible rental periods that let you maximize your investment by using the truck only when you need it. More on that in just a bit.
Fact Number Three: Terminal Tractors Go by Many Names
Warehouse managers and employees use a wide variety of names for terminal tractors. Perhaps you’ve heard some of these terms:
- Yard dog truck
- Yard goa
- Yard spotter
- Shunt truck
- Yard jockey
- Yard bird
And many more…
Fact Number Four: Modern Terminal Trucks Are Environmentally Friendly
Today’s terminal trucks use low power, high-efficiency engines that emit less carbon into the atmosphere. Some models run on electricity or other alternative fuels. These advances have accelerated over the years as technology and environmental awareness continue to expand.
Why Renting Terminal Tractors Is Better Than Buying
As we mentioned earlier, terminal tractor rental is quickly becoming the default choice for many businesses. Here’s why:
- Cash flow advantages – rental arrangements avoid the large cash outlay required when purchasing a vehicle.
- Scalability – renting allows the business owner to meet seasonal or short-term demands and return the truck when it’s no longer needed.
- Freedom from maintenance hassles – when you rent terminal tractors, the responsibility for vehicle repairs and long-term upkeep remains with the provider, saving your business significant money and hassle.