Everything You Need to Know About Short-Haul Trucking – Matrack Insights
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Everything You Need to Know About Short-Haul Trucking – Matrack Insights
AndrewFebruary 27, 2023Trucking Industry

Everything You Need to Know About Short-Haul Trucking – Matrack Insights

The trucking industry is a crucial component of the economy, and transporting goods is vital to keeping the economy moving. One significant aspect of trucking is short-haul trucking, which involves transporting goods over relatively short distances, often within a single state or province. Despite the greater emphasis on long-haul trucking, short-haul trucking is equally vital in the industry. Short-haul trucking, also known as regional trucking, is a type of trucking that involves the transportation of goods within a limited geographic region. It is a crucial part of the logistics industry and is vital in moving goods from one place to another.

This article aims to provide you with a comprehensive guide to short-haul trucking. We will explore everything you need to know about short-haul trucking, including its definition, benefits, challenges, regulations, and technology trends. Whether you’re a business owner seeking to transport goods or a driver interested in pursuing a career in trucking, this article is for you.

What Is Short Haul Trucking?

Short-haul trucking is a transportation method for moving goods over short distances, typically within a 150- to 250-mile radius of a distribution center or shipping point. The primary objective of short-haul trucking is to provide quick, efficient transportation of goods from manufacturing plants to distribution centers, warehouses, or retail stores. In other words, short-haul trucking is a crucial component of the supply chain that ensures products reach their intended destinations promptly and cost-effectively.

Short-haul trucking is often used for just-in-time delivery, where products are delivered as needed to avoid excess inventory and reduce warehousing costs.

How Does Short-Haul Trucking Differ From Long-Haul Trucking?

The critical difference between short-haul and long-haul trucking is the distance drivers travel. Short-haul truckers typically remain within a 150-mile radius of their home base, while long-haul truckers travel across multiple states, covering long distances. As a result, short-haul drivers tend to spend more time at home, while long-haul drivers may be away for weeks at a time.

Another factor distinguishing these two types of trucking is the type of roads and driving conditions drivers encounter. Long-haul truckers typically drive on highways for many hours at high speeds, while short-haul truckers are more likely to operate on local streets, which require slower speeds and may have more frequent stops and turns. Additionally, short-haul and long-haul drivers may be subject to different regulations, particularly regarding the number of hours they are permitted to drive. Short-haul drivers may have various limitations on working time than long-haul drivers.

What Are The Types Of Short-Haul Trucking?

Regional Trucking

Longer journeys up to 150 miles, sometimes spanning more than one day

Local Trucking`

Shorter journeys under 150 miles, often within a neighborhood or community

Regional trucking companies transport goods across a larger geographic area spanning multiple states. They have a network of terminals and warehouses to store and distribute the freight, which allows them to transport goods quickly across a larger area. Regional trucking companies also have established delivery networks, making them more efficient at delivering cargo.

On the other hand, local short-haul trucking companies operate within a smaller geographic area, typically limited to one state. They have fewer terminals and warehouses than regional trucking companies and only transport freight within a smaller radius. Local trucking companies are more suitable for transporting goods within a specific region, such as a city or a state. It makes them well-suited for delivering smaller shipments, such as food or construction materials, to local businesses and consumers.

The main difference between regional and local short-haul trucking lies in the size of their geographic area and the number of facilities they operate. While regional companies work within a larger area and have more facilities, local companies focus on smaller sites with fewer facilities. The choice between a regional or local short-haul trucking company depends on the nature of the goods being transported and the shipper’s or receiver’s specific needs.

Benefits Of Short-Haul Trucking

How Is It Advantageous For The Short-Haul Trucking Business Owner:

  • Faster delivery times- Short-haul trucking enables speedier delivery times as drivers transport goods over shorter distances. As a result, companies can deliver goods to their customers more quickly and efficiently, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Lower transportation costs- Short-haul trucking is a cost-effective alternative to long-haul trucking because of its shorter distance and lower fuel costs, maintenance costs, and labor costs. Companies can reduce transportation expenses, creating higher profit margins and a more competitive edge.
  • Improved supply chain efficiency- Short-haul trucking is crucial to optimizing supply chain efficiency. It allows for faster turnaround times, reduces inventory levels, and enables better coordination of shipments. As a result, companies can ensure that their goods reach their destination on time and in excellent condition, which helps them build a reputation for reliability and dependability.
  • Greater flexibility- Short-haul trucking provides greater flexibility compared to long-haul trucking. The drivers can make more frequent deliveries, which can be particularly useful for time-sensitive shipments or companies with frequent changes in their delivery schedules. Additionally, short-haul trucking allows for easier routing instabilities, which can benefit drivers and companies alike. This flexibility enables short-haul trucking to be more responsive to changing customer demands and helps companies meet the needs of their customers more effectively.
  • Cost-effective- Short-haul trucking is viable and cost-effective for businesses transporting goods over shorter distances. Due to its shorter travel distance, short-haul trucking requires less fuel consumption, leading to reduced transportation costs. Additionally, ensuring a short-haul truck is typically less expensive than long-haul trucking, as accidents are lower. Furthermore, the equipment requirements for short-haul trucking generally are less specialized, resulting in a decreased initial investment for companies.
  • Opportunity to build local business relationships- Short-haul trucking allows businesses to establish close relationships with local companies. By transporting goods for local businesses, companies can gain familiarity with the products and services offered by these businesses, leading to potential repeat business. Additionally, local companies are more likely to tolerate delivery issues and delays, given their established relationship with the driver and company. Short-haul trucking also presents a lucrative opportunity for drivers, as the demanding nature of the job typically yields better compensation due to the need for reliability and time sensitivity.

How Is It Advantageous For Short-Haul Truck Drivers:

  • Daily Variety- Short-haul truckers drive more frequently in urban and residential areas, providing them with more diverse and exciting scenery than long-haul truckers, which may drive on highways.
  • Predictable routes- Although the neighborhoods and streets short-haul drivers visit can provide some variety, the courses they take are often predictable and consistent from day to day. It can be a positive experience for those who enjoy having a regular work routine.
  • More frequent stops- Since short-haul truckers typically travel only a short distance from their home location, they often make more frequent stops during their trips. It can provide rest and variety for drivers who prefer to break up their driving with shorter visits.
  • Work-life balance: Short-haul truckers may enjoy an excellent work-life balance because they typically travel shorter distances and may be able to eat and sleep at home. They may also have more predictable schedules and working hours, which can contribute to a healthy work-life balance.

Challenges Of Short-Haul Trucking

  • Driver Shortage- The trucking industry is currently experiencing a shortage of drivers, and the COVID-19 pandemic has further compounded this. Consequently, intense competition for drivers leads to increased wages, higher turnover rates, and difficulties finding and retaining qualified drivers.
  • Traffic Congestion- Short-haul trucking routes typically involve urban or suburban areas, which are more susceptible to traffic congestion. It often results in longer delivery times and increased costs, as drivers may spend more time idling in traffic and less time on the road.
  • Increased Regulations- Short-haul trucking is subject to the same regulations as long-haul trucking, including hours-of-service rules, safety regulations, and environmental standards. Ensuring compliance with these regulations can add to the operational costs of short-haul trucking.
Short Haul Driver: What Is It? and How to Become One? | Ziprecruiter
Source: ZipRecruiter
  • Infrastructure Limitations- Short-haul trucking routes are often constrained by infrastructure, such as narrow roads or low bridges, making transporting larger or heavier loads challenging. It can limit the types of cargo to be transported, reducing potential revenue for businesses.
  • Challenges with loading and unloading- Loading and unloading delays are complex for short-haul trucking companies. Factors such as traffic congestion, bad weather, or mechanical problems with the truck can cause such delays. The trucking company often needs more control over these delays, leading to frustration for the company and its customers.
  • Increased competition- The trucking sector is very competitive, making it challenging for trucking companies to remain in operation. Some companies are cutting costs by hiring inexperienced drivers or using older, less reliable trucks. It can lead to a decrease in the quality of service and an increase in accidents. Additionally, the increased competition is causing lower prices, making it difficult for short-haul trucking companies to profit.
  • Long and demanding working hours- Long and demanding days are also a challenge for companies. Drivers often face traffic, bad weather, and long hours on the road. It is tough on both the drivers and the trucks, which can lead to accidents or breakdowns. Furthermore, drivers may need help getting enough rest, leading to fatigue and mistakes.

Technology Trends In Short-Haul Trucking

Technology is rapidly transforming the trucking industry, and short-haul trucking is no exception. Here are some technology trends that are likely to shape the future of short-haul trucking:

  • Autonomous vehicles- Autonomous trucks have the potential to transform short-haul trucking by reducing labor costs, improving safety, and increasing efficiency. Many companies are testing autonomous trucks for short-haul routes, and the technology is expected to become more widespread in the coming years.
  • Telematics- Telematics uses technology to monitor and track vehicles, drivers, and cargo. Telematics can provide real-time information about vehicle location, speed, fuel consumption, and maintenance needs, allowing for more efficient routing, reduced fuel consumption, and improved safety. Matrack’s telematics solutions include real-time vehicle tracking, driver behavior monitoring, and advanced analytics and reporting. These tools allow fleet managers to identify areas for improvement in their operations, such as reducing idle time, improving driver safety, and reducing maintenance costs.
  • Predictive maintenance- Technology is used in predictive maintenance to track vehicle performance and foresee when repairs are needed. It can help prevent breakdowns and reduce downtime, increasing efficiency and lowering costs. Matrack’s platform also provides fleet managers with detailed analytics and reporting tools to help optimize vehicle performance and reduce fuel costs. This data can help fleet managers identify trends and patterns in their fleet’s performance and make informed decisions about maintenance schedules, route planning, and other operational factors impacting efficiency and profitability.
  • Electric and hybrid vehicles- Electric and hybrid vehicles have the potential to reduce emissions and fuel costs for short-haul trucking. As the technology for electric and hybrid trucks improves, these vehicles will likely become more common in the short-haul trucking industry.
  • Load-matching platforms- Load-matching platforms connect shippers with carriers, allowing for more efficient and cost-effective transportation of goods. These platforms use algorithms to match available trucks with loads, reducing empty miles and maximizing capacity utilization.

How Matrack Benefits The Short-Haul Trucking Business

Matrack is a GPS tracking and fleet management software that can provide numerous benefits to short-haul trucking businesses. Here are some of the ways Matrack can benefit short-haul trucking:

  • Real-time tracking- Matrack’s GPS tracking technology allows short-haul trucking businesses to track their vehicles in real-time. It helps companies keep track of their vehicles and ensures efficient use.
  • Route optimization- Matrack’s software provides route optimization features, which can help short-haul trucking businesses identify the most efficient routes for their deliveries. It can help companies to reduce fuel costs, save time, and increase productivity.
  • Geofencing- Matrack’s geofencing feature allows businesses to set up virtual boundaries around a specific location. It can help enterprises to monitor when their vehicles enter or leave a particular area and can help prevent theft or misuse of vehicles.
  • ELD compliance- Matrack’s software complies with electronic logging device (ELD) regulations, which are required for all commercial motor vehicles. It can help short-haul trucking businesses ensure compliance with FMCSA regulations and avoid fines or penalties.
  • Driver behavior monitoring- Matrack’s software provides features for monitoring driver behavior, including speeding, harsh braking, and sudden acceleration. It can help businesses identify unsafe driving practices and reduce the risk of accidents.
  • Maintenance schedule- Matrack’s predictive maintenance feature can help businesses schedule regular vehicle maintenance, reducing the risk of breakdowns and increasing the lifespan of vehicles.

Matrack’s GPS tracking and fleet management software offers end-to-end support for short-haul trucking businesses, enabling them to operate more efficiently, reduce costs, and improve safety. By maximizing the optimal use of vehicles, the software eliminates operational burdens and helps to keep the business running smoothly.


Short-haul trucking is a critical aspect of the logistics industry that plays a vital role in transporting goods over relatively short distances. It offers many benefits to business owners, including faster delivery times, lower transportation costs, improved supply chain efficiency, greater flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. Short-haul trucking companies also provide job opportunities for drivers who prefer to remain close to home and spend more time with their families. With the right technology and regulations in place, short-haul trucking has the potential to become even more efficient and sustainable, providing even more benefits for the economy and the environment.

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