Commercial Vehicle & Transportation

Trailer Terms & Definitions

What is a commercial trailer?

A commercial trailer is a vehicle without motive power designed for carrying commercial/business property or goods and for being drawn by a motor vehicle.

What are different types of commercial trailers?

Dry Vans: Totally enclosed trailer for dry cargo.

Reefer Vans: A refrigerated van trailer. Used for hauling any product that is temperature sensitive, such as food, film, and medications.

Platforms: A trailer chassis consisting of a flat loading deck without permanent sides or roof.

Low Beds: A trailer designed to carry large and heavy loads where loaded height is critical. Typically see moving large construction equipment.

Dumps: Three types of dump trailers: side, bottom and end. Used in basic industries and construction. Used for aggregates, such as stone, coal and sand.

Tanks: A trailer with a liquid tight vessel to carry liquid or dry bulk freight

Containers: Containers are the boxes that are used in intermodal service to haul either domestic or international goods. Due to international freight flows, there are no international 20’ or 40’ containers built in North America. The containers produced in the North American market are for domestic freight only and are produced in both dry and refrigerated configurations.

Chassis (aka: container chassis): Chassis are the means by which containerized intermodal freight is delivered from steamships and railroads to customers. A container/chassis combination is basically a two-piece dry van.

Dolly, Converter gear: An auxiliary undercarriage assembly consisting of a chassis, fifth wheel, and tow bar used in combination trailer service.

Trucks are only beneficial if you have a trailer to move the freight. To continue to understand the entirety of the commercial vehicle market, you can’t only understand heavy duty and medium duty truck production, or used truck sales, you also need an understanding of the scope of the trailer market. ACT Research produces a State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report for this very purpose. The report is a monthly report to review the current U.S. Trailer Market Statistics and U.S. Trailer Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEMs) Build Plans.

One of the most important aspects of this report is the accompanying database. Historical data is available in Excel documents dating from 1996 to the present. With the monthly data provided by the OEMs, this report offers a rich data history that aids in model building, market intelligence for various companies. This report is a great compliment to ACT’S N.A. CV Outlook report as it gives the monthly, tactical data to support the Outlook.