Power-Only Trucking Guide for Shippers

Power-Only Trucking Guide for Shippers

There are so many ways to ship freight from one location to the next, finding the right one for your goods can be a confusing process. But have you explored power-only trucking? It might be just the suitable shipping method for you and one you haven’t explored.

Power-only trucking has been a long-standing shipping method that helps shippers meet their delivery dates while staying within budget. So, is a power-only trailer right for you? If you have the freight ready to go in your own trailer but no tractor or driver insight, this may be just the answer to your shipment needs.

Cowtown Express has years of experience with power-only freight, and our experts are here to guide you through all the must-know information. To help you further explore what power-only freight is, the pros and cons, and when to use it, we are breaking down all you need to know about this reliable shipping method.

What Is a Power-Only Load?

So, what is a power-only load exactly? We’ve got the answer.

The power-only loads meaning refer to the transportation of freight when a carrier provides both the semi-tractor and truck driver to deliver the shipment. The combination of both the semi-tractor and truck driver is referred to as the “power unit,” however they are not responsible for providing the trailer the freight will sit on. This is ideal for shippers who already lease or own their trailers, securing them with the other essentials to ensure their cargo gets from point A to point B.

When thinking about the question of “what does power-only mean in trucking,” think of it as a transportation partner providing this “power unit” to help ensure the delivery of freight. With this partner, shippers will secure an experienced driver who knows how to safely deliver their freight, no matter the distance.

Power-only trucking typically relies on dry van trailers. These are box-like enclosures specifically designed for protecting freight in transit. This enclosure is usually around 53’ long and can carry anywhere from 42,000 to 45,000 pounds. With these dimensions and weight capabilities, power-only solutions are ideal for many industries, from retail to manufacturing.

How Does Power-Only Trucking Work?

Now that you know the answer to “what is power-only trucking,” let’s dive into how this shipping solution works.

In the case that a shipper has freight yet no tractor to handle the shipment, they will partner with a power-only trucking company to tow their goods. These power-only trucks are equipped with adjustable fifth-wheel hitches that can tow a wide range of goods, ensuring safe delivery.

As part of this process, it’s essential that the power-only shipments are adjusted to the equipment’s capacity and limitations. For this reason, it’s important that shippers have an accurate size and weight information to ensure their freight is hauled with the right equipment.

What Types of Companies Use Power-Only Trucking?

A power-only trailer is beneficial to some industries. Most often, companies that utilize power-only trucking are those that often ship open deck or dry van freight. Additionally, this solution is perfect for those that have a number of trailers at their disposal but no trucks or drivers to haul them.

Typically, with dry van freight, they have a “pick-up-and-go” benefit where they can remain fully loaded on the trailer while a company looks for a driver to transport them. That being said, companies that most benefit from this shipping solution are those that have plenty of space to hold their trailers, despite not having a tractor or driver actually to handle the shipment.

Keep in mind, power-only trucking is most ideal for those that have a number of trailers at their disposal, as well as the space to leave these trailers for extended periods of time while the drivers and tractors are located for their transportation. With this consideration, companies transporting perishable or raw goods are not the ideal candidates for power-only shipments.

Benefits of Power-Only Trucking

There are a lot of advantages to choosing power-only trucking for your next shipment. But are you still not sure if it’s right for you? Here are some of the perks of selecting this method of freight shipping.

1. Increases Your Supply Chain’s Efficiency

One of the most significant advantages of power-only trucking is that it allows you, as the shipper, to focus on other parts of your business, letting your power-only partner handle the tractor and driver search.

Instead of sitting around waiting for a trailer, shippers can efficiently load their goods onto their own trailers, keeping their schedules on track while an outside party coordinates the driver to transport the goods. Frequently, power-only service providers will coordinate pick-ups in advance, ensuring the whole process runs smoothly without too much wait time to make sure goods are out the door and on the way to their destination in no time.

2. Helps Save Shipper’s Money

If you’re a shopper looking to save a bit of money, power-only shipments can help. Helping save on freight costs by avoiding employing your own semi-trucks and drivers to match, power-only trucking allows shippers to escape owning and operating this equipment and personnel. Instead, you can put that money towards other ventures, allowing a power-only company to handle those endeavors.

On top of that, many drivers are looking for these power-only opportunities due to the governmental regulations around on-duty service hours. Since truckers are limited to 14 hours within a 24 hour period of time, drivers can work around this rule to get more hours by hauling power-only shipments.

With these two factors in mind, power-only companies can easily coordinate the shipment of power-only freight with ready, willing, and experienced drivers, saving shippers money while boosting drivers' wallets.

3. More Flexible Shipping

Lastly, with power-only shipments, companies will often get more flexibility during their shipping process.

Since power-only shippers have their own trailers, they can fill and store their freight while looking for a trucking solution, avoiding any mounting expenses from a drop trailer service. This allows shippers to work at their own pace, adjusting their schedule based on any issues that may arise in the fast-paced shipping industry.

What makes this even better? By having trailers packed and ready to go, last-minute solutions, such as the location of a driver and tractor, can make the departure of goods quick and instantaneous the moment the solution is found. This makes getting freight out the door much more accessible, especially in a rush.


Now that you know the power-only trucking definition, you’re ready to coordinate your next shipment. But you may still be wondering, “what’s the cost?” The price of power-only shipments depends on several factors, from the time frame to the kind of freight being moved.

The team at Cowtown Express has extensive experience coordinating power-only freight shipments and will provide a rate that helps you make the most of your budget. To calculate the cost of your shipment, get a quote online today.

If you have more questions about what is power-only shipping and if it’s right for you, the experts at freight shipping company are here to help. Explore more on our power-only trucking solutions, and contact us at 817-765-5437 to chat with our team.

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