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What Are the Advantages of Using a Terminal Tractor?

One of the most common challenges for warehouse or shipping yard owners is moving cargo around quickly and easily. Most companies still rely on conventional road trucks for this task, but a better option exists.

Terminal tractors (also known as yard trucks, spotter trucks, or shunt trucks) can quickly and easily move cargo containers and trailers around a storage facility. In this blog, we’ll review some of the top advantages terminal tractors have over road trucks.

Terminal Tractors Move More Cargo in Less Time

Unlike a typical road truck, terminal tractors are designed specifically for moving cargo around a yard or terminal and incorporate features that reflect this design intent.

For example, most yard trucks have a sliding back door and catwalk that leads to where the trailer and truck connect. This means that the operator doesn’t have to dismount, walk around to the back to hook up the trailer and airlines, and then remount up front. Instead, they can step out onto the platform, connect everything, and then return to the cabin.

Design features like this sound small but majorly impact the workday. An experienced road truck driver needs about three minutes to hook or unhook a trailer. A terminal tractor driver, on the other hand, can get the same job done in less than a minute.

Minutes saved lead to hours saved, which add up to days saved and a faster, more efficient workforce.

Terminal Tractors are More Maneuverable

Even the most organized shipping facility or terminal can be a cramped, chaotic workspace. In short, they’re everything commercial truck drivers don’t want to hear. A terminal tractor, however, is designed for such an environment.

With a shorter wheelbase and a solid-mounted rear axle, terminal tractors boast tighter turning radiuses than road trucks, allowing them to squeeze through more difficult spots and navigate the cramped confines of a terminal.

Ease of Operation

Under federal regulations, terminal tractors are classified as powered industrial trucks by both OSHA and ANSI. Therefore, you do not need to have a commercial driver’s license to operate one. This means it is quicker and easier to train new employees to operate a terminal tractor and help your company maintain its operations even in the face of hiring new workers.

Greater Driver Safety and Comfort

The same design features that make terminal tractors quicker to operate also help reduce the chance of injury. Not having to constantly enter and exit the cab to change trailers means there are fewer chances for the driver to slip and fall. Additionally, the hydraulic fifth wheel that lifts the trailer means there’s no need to crank the landing dolly and risk a repetitive stress injury.

Terminal tractors also feature wider windshields and a better perspective for the driver than road trucks, giving them superior visibility of their surroundings. This, in turn, means less chance of a collision, protecting both the driver and the terminal tractor.

Features like anti-skid surfaces on all standing work surfaces and 3-point access support on all climbing points make them some of the safest commercial vehicles to operate.

In an industry where worker safety is a constant concern, every one of these small design choices can be the difference between a happy, healthy worker and a workplace injury.

Get Your Terminal Tractor from Big Truck Rental

If you plan to add a new terminal tractor to your company’s fleet, consider a terminal tractor rental from Big Truck Rental. We offer a full range of commercial vehicles for both short and long-term rental agreements, allowing you to find the trucking solution that’s right for you.

We also feature rent-to-purchase options on many of our vehicles, letting you make your rental a permanent addition to your fleet if you love it enough. With our wide variety of trucks for rent, you can find the right truck, at the right price, for the right period of time.

Call us today and find out how we can help your company with its trucking and commercial vehicle needs!

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