Short Haul vs. Long Haul Trucking

March 23, 2023
Courtney L.

In the logistics industry there are many different sectors of trucking that provide shippers with the options they need to cover any condition their cargo demands. It’s one of the chaotic, yet extraordinary things about the supply chain…its human problem solving and creative solutions at its core!

The supply chain revolves around time. Deliveries need to be made on time, no exceptions, and if there are delays because…well, life…then money can be lost. That’s why it’s important to understand all of the services available to shippers and how to choose the best ones depending on the shipment in question.

Short haul trucking and long haul trucking are two popular methods to ship freight, but what are the differences? We cover it all in this blog post, so you can make the most informed choice for your shipping needs.

What is Short Haul Trucking?

Short haulers stick to making deliveries within a 150 to 250 mile radius, keeping them local or regional for work. They typically cover the final leg of bringing the shipment to its destination, which is highly important, because it needs to be on time.

Pros of Short Hauling

Short haul truckers enjoy many benefits that make this type of trucking work more attractive than others. For one, it’s in high demand, so work is plentiful. 

And, even though local drivers are expected to make several trips within a day, this breaks up the monotony as opposed to staring at one straight road for hours.

Short haulers tend to enjoy a better work/life balance, since many can spend nights at home with their families. 

Finally, one big perk is that most of the time, short haul drivers are exempt from HOS regulations. That means they shouldn’t need to use an ELD to track hours if they are operating within a 100 to 150 mile radius.

Cons of Short Hauling

While short hauling offers many benefits, it’s not for everyone. The final mile of a delivery means drivers are under pressure to deliver on time and satisfy the customer. It also means having to juggle multiple routes.

As well, loading docks and asset tracking can be stressful, since local distribution centers are incredibly busy. Delays can easily occur if you have to take time to search for your load.

What is Long Haul Trucking?

As you can probably guess, long haul trucking means much more time spent on the road. Indeed, this applies to deliveries over 250 miles, but long haul truckers typically travel over 1,000 miles to complete a delivery. 

Also known as over the road trucking (OTR), cargo is shipped all over the country and across international borders into Mexico and Canada.

Long Hauling Pros

Like short haul, long haul trucking is also in high demand due to the trucker shortage, so jobs are plentiful, benefits are robust, and salaries are lucrative. However, long haulers have their own pros and cons compared to short haulers.

Long hauling provides a stable career that doesn’t require a four-year degree. Drivers enjoy flexibility when it comes to scheduling and the loads they want to haul. There is a wide variety of loads, so drivers can choose the industry they’re interested in.

There’s also a sense of adventure associated with long haul trucking. Drivers travel on unfamiliar roads, but they get to experience scenic highways and regions that many of us dream of seeing one day. The whole van life trend? Truckers are getting paid to live it!

Long Hauling Cons

However, long hauling isn’t for the faint of heart. Unfamiliar roads are adventurous, but also uncertain. Breakdowns, cargo theft, and accidents are always risks.

Plus, in-depth planning and administrative work goes into this type of hauling, so truckers need to be organized and caught up with certifications, insurance, and paperwork.

Finally, since long haulers spend hours or even days on the road, time at home can be less than what a short hauler gets to enjoy. 


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