What Does Live Load Mean in Trucking?

In the United States, the trucking industry is huge, and it has been serving the economy for almost a century. The whole economy is indebted to trucking due to the transport of great quantities of goods, raw materials work in process, etc. from plants where they are manufactured to distribution centers.

Not only transporting goods, but the construction industry also depends on trucking everything necessary from rocks, dirt, concrete, and other construction materials.

Those who are interested in the industry are often confused about the different jargon being used by the truckers, like what does live load mean in trucking.

In this write up we’ll discuss the basics of this industry’s jargon and specifically the meaning of Live Load in trucking.

Trucking Jargons

Specialized terms or jargon are used in all professions, industries, or fields of study. So why should the trucking industry be left behind?

There are some interesting jargon or terms in trucking, which others might not understand at first. Some examples are Bobtail, Deadhead, Flatbed, Hazmat, Jackknife, Live Load, etc.

Now, you can’t just learn these kinds of stuff from Google. You require extra education and training with the commercial driver’s license to deal with large trucks and buses in the US.

Meaning of Live Load

With the introduction and some basic ideas out of the way, we can finally get to know what a live load in trucking is. The term “live load” is not only used in the moving and transportation industry of trucking but the construction industry as well.

When this jargon is used in a construction site, it means a kind of weight that could change with time. Such as someone moving or people walking around, movable objects like furniture, etc. Some live loads could also mean the action of wind on an elevation, the weight of the books in a library, and so on.

live load in trucking

In the case of trucking, on the other hand, live load means when the items are for some reason forced to load while the driver of the truck waits.

When making a live load shipment, the empty trailer is taken to where the loaders will load all the merchandise and equipment into it. If you were a trucker, you probably wouldn’t like the idea of waiting every day for hours to load things, right? Well, most truckers don’t either.

But live loading is the most common thing a trucker faces during their duties since it is almost always required for international shipping containers. Besides, in big cities like Seattle, New York, or Chicago, the live load is also common because the parking is limited.

Is Live Load Bad?

Well, if you are not in the industry, you might not be aware of the fact that the trucks used for carrying stuff all over the country are huge in size. And therefore, loading things takes a lot of time. For a driver, waiting for such a long time doing absolutely nothing is very painful.

A great deal of time is wasted for drivers on extra live loading or detention times. Although the industry standard for loading for the customer is 2/3 hours, some keep the drivers waiting forever.

But on the good side, depending on the company, the shippers usually get around 2 hours to load their goods on the truck. After that, they have to pay additional charges to the trucker or the trucking company. That is why most times, this method takes two hours on average.

However, in a recent study done a couple of years ago, it is seen that the length and frequency of these detention times have increased between 11.2% to 27.4%. This means some of the live load times have increased to six or more hours!

However, no matter how much you hate live loading, the beauty of trucking is entirely different. Because one day you’re driving all day and the next day you spend time loading or unloading. It’s like, what Forrest Gump said, a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.

Drop ‘N’ Hook

If you don’t like to wait for the carriage to load, then there is an alternative method besides Live Loading. This is the method where the drivers don’t have to wait for the truck to get loaded. The container is already ready to be picked up before they arrive.

Because in drop-n-hook, the trailers are scheduled to be loaded before the trucker arrives. But while this method requires a bit more exercise of the driver, it is still faster than a live load or unloads. When this method works properly, it is a very efficient and profitable way of moving freight.

Sometimes, this method wastes a longer time. Because the driver’s container might have been covered under other containers and the warehouse team has to move them to pick up that specific one. If this situation occurs frequently, the other method becomes preferable to the drivers.

Dead Load

Since we talked about Live Load a lot, you must be wondering, is there a Dead Load too? Well, there is, to be honest, but not in the trucking industry. In the construction site, when Dead Load is talked about, it means the opposite of Live Load.

Here Dead Load means the weight that is static and doesn’t change with time. These loads are the components in the building that are permanent and integral parts of the structure.

But the term Dead Load is not used for trucking. Rather another jargon can be taken to account, and that is Deadhead.

What is a Deadheading?

When a truck driver has dropped off a load, their truck remains empty. In such situations, they might have to drive elsewhere to pick up another load. The driving of a semi-truck with an empty trailer during this time is regarded as a Deadhead.

It should be noted that deadheading tends to be extremely dangerous as these trucks are 2.5 times more likely to crash than loaded trucks. High winds, snow, or rain can sometimes flip an empty truck trailer if the driver isn’t careful.

So, if you’re driving and notice an empty truck swaying between lanes, move away from it.

What Does Live Unload Mean?

If you’ve read this article carefully until now, you can already guess what this jargon means. Simply put, when the container is being emptied while the driver waits on-site is called Live Unloading.

Unloading takes almost the same time as loading up a container or the truck and is equally annoying to the drivers if they take too much time. Just like Live Loading, drivers give unloading 2 to 3 hours, after which they charge extra fees for the delay.

Final Words

The truck driving industry is the lifeblood of the US economy, and every good you’ve ever consumed has been put on a truck at some point in its lifetime. In other words, the majority of freight movement over land inside the United States is totally dependent on trucks and trucking.

So, if you’re interested in this industry, instead of asking what does live load means in trucking only, it is better to learn all the other jargon as well.

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