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The Very Short Haul: The Basics of Trailer Spotting

Posted by on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 in News

CCC Transportation operates in all of the contiguous 48 states. After more than 60 years, we’re experts in hauling freight and dry bulk products long distances, sometimes thousands of miles.

But sometimes trucking isn’t about great distances. Our trailer spotting services are just as important in ensuring we deliver our clients’ goods on time, every time.

Everyone knows that semi-trailers are loaded up, attached to a tractor and sent out onto the highway. Still, when you’re talking about hundreds of trailers at a time, it’s pretty unlikely that a driver will be ready to go as soon as that trailer is loaded up.

Enter the yard spotter – the trucking industry’s unsung hero. Equipped with a specially-designed tractor, the yard spotter moves the loaded trailer to another location on the yard, immediately freeing up dock space for a new unloaded trailer, as well as keeping the yard as organized as possible.

The diminutive yet mighty yard mule.

The diminutive yet mighty yard mule.

The greatest aspect of trailer spotting is the hostler or “yard mule” – the special tractor that moves and organizes fully-loaded semi trailers around a freight yard or warehouse.

Even though these trailers are smaller than an ordinary tractor, they’re pretty powerful. These rugged little beasts have a short wheelbase and a hydraulic fifth wheel that allows the driver to lower and raise the trailer without getting out of the cab. In fact, the hostler’s increased maneuverability means that hostlers can move semi-trailers more efficiently than regular trucks.

If you’re wondering why you’ve never seen this truck before, it’s because most of them aren’t street legal. So unless you’ve put in some hours in a freight yard, chances are this is your first introduction to these small and mighty workhorses that play a big role in our business.

Interested in working for a trucking company that uses advanced spotting? Check out our careers page.

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