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Different Ways of Expediting Freight and When to Use Them

Originally Posted On: Different Ways of Expediting Freight and When to Use Them – ATS Logistics

Expediting freight

We currently live in a digital world where people are spending more time online and buying more products online than ever before. Ecommerce has been on the rise since the early 2000s, however, since the pandemic hit, the numbers have skyrocketed. In the fast-paced economy today, trustworthy and rapid transport is not only important, but expected. Shippers and customers want their products delivered quicker and more reliably than in the past, especially the deliveries that are urgent and time sensitive. Expedited freight options have grown to be a popular way to ship for companies that need quick, short, and long-distance deliveries.


What is Expedited Freight and Who uses it?

The main objective of expedited freight is to get the shipment from point A to point B without any extra stops or wasted time. Companies who want to get their products delivered in the fastest manner possible can do so through different ways, whether it is on the ground in a truck or in the air on a plane. Most freight can be expedited, as little as one pallet all the way to a full truckload. Expedited freight services can also be for businesses that wish to find carriers to haul freight that is fragile, high value, or just needs extra protection and taken care of in transit. Any company can use expedited freight services, however, major industries that commonly use it are the medical, automotive, manufacturing, and ecommerce.

So now you know you need expedited freight, but what expedited option are you going to choose? There are different types of vans and trucks you can decide on to move your freight on the ground and also the air option. We have outlined the different methods you can select to get your freight to its destination the fastest and safest way possible.

Cargo Van

The cargo van is traditionally the smallest and cheapest option when needing to expedite freight. This van can move any loads up to 8 feet and 2500 pounds and under. Typically, the cargo van will be loaded by forklift or by hand, whichever action the shipper and receiver decide to take.

Sprinter Van

The sprinter van is similar to the cargo van, but bigger. It can hold 7 more feet of cargo up to 15 feet and can hold up to 3500 pounds. Similar to the cargo van, freight will be loaded by forklift or hand based on the loaders.

Box Truck

The box truck is one of the options of your expedited trucks and they can range between 22 and 26 feet. The amount of space on a box truck is almost double what you can fit on the cargo and sprinter vans at a capacity between 8500 and 9000 pounds. Most likely the freight is loaded by forklift or pallet jack on dock, however it may be loaded by hand. Sometimes a lift gate may be applicable from the ground.

Tractor Trailer

Tractor trailers are the typical semi-trucks you will see on the roadways every day.  There is a wide variety of these trucks and can be 28 feet all the way to 53 feet. Because of the wide range, the weight capacities also run from 34,000 pounds to a vehicle or combination up to 80,000 pounds. Loading heights go as high as 110” tall and the width of the freight can be no wider than 8.5 feet.

Curtain Side

The curtain side truck is similar to a box truck, but instead of a hard exterior the wrap around is more curtain like. They can vary in size from 16 feet all the way to 28 feet and can handle loads 10,000 pounds and under. A curtain side can be loaded in a couple different ways. Some will have ramps to form dock high loading, but if not they can be loaded by forklift on the side.

Specialized Vehicles

Specialized vehicles can also be an expedited freight option. These can include hot shots, lift gate trucks, and the tommy gate.

A hot shot is any flatbed trailer that is towed by a medium or heavy duty truck that delivers loads to local, regional, or national locations. Hot shot drivers usually drive class 3,4,5, or 6 rated pickup trucks, which makes them more accessible and affordable. Trailers on the hot shot can range from 20 feet to 40 feet long and 102 inches wide. Hot shot trailers can usually scale no more than 18,000 pounds, this number varies based on the exact truck/trailer combination.

Lift gate and tommy gate trucks are trucks that come with an attachment at the back of the truck that makes loading the freight easier. The size and dimensions of the trucks can vary. Lift gates and tommy gates can be found on various trucks depending on the owner’s choice to add one or buy a truck with one.


Air freight is the way to go if you need freight delivered next day or across water to locations where expedited trucks and vans are not an option. There are 2 choices when it comes to air, next day delivery or charter flights for a specific trip, not part of an airline’s regular schedule. Air is most often the more costly way to expedite freight, however it may be the best option and sometimes even cheaper for your company based on the distance, fragility, urgency of the freight, and where it needs to go.

In regard to getting the freight to and from the airport, the freight is picked up by box truck. The dimensions are set to be under 119 inches in length and under 68 inches in height and in order to qualify for expedited air shipping. Weight restrictions are also put into place depending on the type of air freight and the cargo.


In closing, we expedite freight because some deliveries need to be made more quickly than standard transits and ground/over-the-road usually. Sometimes freight needs to be from the East Coast to the West Coast overnight.  We also use expedited carriers and services to transport freight that is more delicate and important.  The type of truck quoted is determined by the dimensions and weight of the skids and the destination where it needs to be delivered. Especially with the long backups in the logistics market today, expedited freight is being used to deliver shipments faster and cut the time of waiting due to the backups of the market.

Here at ATS we know that your time and freight is valuable and are dedicated to helping you find the most affordable and best option for your shipment. When you encounter unexpected issues or need emergency shipments, our talented expedited team is here to cater to your needs. We offer these various solutions for your time-sensitive, behind schedule, or pressing shipments that need to be delivered ASAP. ATS will get your freight picked up and delivered in a timely, safe, and cost effective manner with our most trusted carriers! Contact us today!

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