Tractor, forwarder: what are the differences for transporting goods?

In the world of road haulage, certain terms can be confusing: how do you tell the difference between a tractor and a forwarder? To help you find your way around, Transports Goëvia has provided the explanations you need to understand everything. In concrete terms, the forwarder has a cab and a body on the same chassis. The tractor, on the other hand, is a motorized vehicle without a body. To be able to use it to transport goods, a semi-trailer must be added.

Everything you need to know about the straight truck, an essential vehicle for transporting goods

A member of the heavy-duty truck family, the straight truck is designed to receive heavy equipment on its chassis, such as a container. heavy equipment on its chassis, such as a container. for example. Unlike a tractor, which “pulls” the merchandise, a straight truck is a “loader”. able to carry it.

Straight trucks are vehicles with a minimum load capacity of 3.5 tonnes. Cabins can be more or less elaborate, with or without a berth depending on the case. More sophisticated equipment is usually reserved for longer journeys.

With a straight truck, the chassis supports not only the cab, but also the container – also known as the “body”. There are various types of bodywork, such as tank bodywork (for liquids) or refrigerated bodywork (for perishable goods).

For its intended use, the truck has a sufficiently powerful engine to roll, despite heavy loads. To support this weight, the straight truck can have up to 4 axles, with one axle able to carry up to 13 tonnes.

At the same time, a straight truck can be fitted with additional equipment: a crane for loading and unloading, or a tailgate (a platform located at the rear of the body, also to facilitate loading and unloading operations).

Why does my carrier use a tractor?

A goods carrier may need to use a tractor rather than a straight truck. In order to transport the goods, the tractor unit is combined with a semi-trailer – the whole forming a so-called “articulated set.

By definition, a tractor is an “empty empty” motorized vehicle, with no trailer. A fifth wheel is used to attach it to the trailer. A tractor can have 2 or 4 axles, depending on the case, with an overhead or conventional cab. The forward cab is more common in France, while the conventional cab is found on American truck models.

The tractors are powered by engines ranging from 250 to 700 carry loads of up to 44 tonnes. Their gearboxes range from 8 to 18 speeds. There are 2, 3 or 4 axles with single or twin wheels.

The choice of vehicle and trailer type depends on your needs. These include flatbed trucks for transporting lengths, tankers for liquids and chemicals, and tippers for sand and rubble.


Choosing your carrier: the right method

There are nearly 40,000 road haulage companies in France: how do you choose your company and get the best value for money?

  • Taking stock of your needs
  • Control your transport costs
  • Reduce your carbon footprint
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