Yard jockeys, also known as yard operators or yard hostlers, are drivers who oversee operations at truck yards, factories, distribution centers, and manufacturing or warehouse facilities. Their core responsibility is to move semi-truck trailers to and from yard loading docks.
By eliminating congestion and cleaning up the yard, yard jockeys streamline the loading and unloading process and reduce downtime. From their day-to-day responsibilities to driving equipment, here’s everything you need to know about yard jockey truck drivers.
What Is a Yard Jockey Truck Driver?
A yard jockey is responsible for moving trailers at truck yards, factories, plants, and warehouses. These facilities often have large yards and loading docks where trucks stop to load and unload goods.
Unlike semi-truck drivers, yard jockeys drive terminal tractors, also known as yard hostler trucks or shunt trucks. To drive a shunt truck, yard jockeys require a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Terminal tractors differ from semi-tractors because they’re equipped with a shorter wheelbase. In addition, the cab only fits one person, and the door in the rear of the cab offers convenient access to trailers for easy maneuvering around privately owned facilities. In this way, shunt trucks are similar to switcher locomotives used to move railcars around freight train terminals.
What Do Yard Jockeys Do?
A yard jockey is responsible for operating a terminal tractor and moving semi-trailers within cargo yards and warehouse environments. During day-to-day operations, yard jockeys must multitask to perform duties within a fast-paced environment under minimal supervision.
Yard jockey truck drivers help inspect containers, manage equipment, assist with docking procedures, and safely maneuver containers around the facility. They may also perform preventive maintenance to ensure all equipment, tools, and machinery are in good working condition.
In some cases, yard jockeys may use other warehouse equipment, such as forklifts or pallet jacks, to transport goods. However, most yard jockeys drive terminal tractors to get the job done safely, quickly, and reliably.
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Your business is unique—and so are your needs. Whether you’re in a bind or searching for a new approach to yard truck rentals, we’re committed to helping you tackle any problem. Contact us today to explore terminal tractors to rent and other solutions for your business.