What’s the Purpose of a Terminal Tractor?

A terminal tractor, also known as a yard truck or shunt truck, is used to quickly and efficiently move cargo containers and semi-trailers across short distances in a cargo yard, intermodal transportation hub, port, truck terminal, or warehouse facility. A terminal tractor serves roughly the same purpose as a switcher locomotive that repositions railcars—except the yard truck repositions trailers and cargo bins.

At Route Ready, we know that terminal truck drivers need a high-performance vehicle that delivers speed, reliability, and safety – all day, every day. That’s why we have partnered with pioneering manufacturer Autocar to bring you professionally refurbished preowned ACTT terminal tractors for sale. Get the quality late-model vehicle you need at substantial cost savings from buying new. Top spotter truck features include ergonomic driver environment, easy in-and-out access, expanded visibility, and a tight turning radius to let you smoothly back in and out of narrow spaces all day. Our used terminal trucks also come with Autocar’s advanced telematics to help manage your fleet in real-time, avoid truck downtime, and save money on maintenance.

Get peace of mind when you purchase your vehicle from Route Ready, thanks to our industry-leading warranties. Our trucks are ready RIGHT NOW to go to work for your business with no wait time for delivery. Call us today for your terminal tractor quote!

What Is a Terminal Tractor?

A terminal tractor is a type of short-distance yard truck that goes by many nicknames:

  • Hostler
  • Jockey truck
  • Mule dog
  • Shunt truck
  • Spotting tractor
  •  Spotter truck
  • Yard bird
  • Yard dog
  • Yard goat
  • Yard horse
  • Yard hustler
  • Yard shifter
  •  Yard spotter
  • Yard truck

Whatever you call it, this truck’s single-person cab, large windows, short wheelbase, fifth-wheel coupling, 25 mph max speed, and sliding rear door trailer connection access make it an industrial workhorse that you can rely on when you need cargo hauled from point A to point B.

What Is the History of Terminal Tractors?

Ottawa Wire and Steel developed the first terminal tractor in 1958. Dubbed “Yard Hustler,” this vehicle soon became a must-have for material handling and supply chain industries looking to save hours of time each day by using the fifth wheel so the driver never had to dismount the truck.

Modern terminal tractors feature ergonomic seating, air conditioning, and excellent fuel economy, giving haulers all the amenities they need to get cargo moved comfortably and affordably.

How to Know if You Need a Yard Spotter Truck

A yard spotter truck is the right solution if you’re looking to increase:

  • Driver Productivity: Most drivers would rather spend their time moving cargo containers around than hooking up trailers. The hydraulic lifting fifth wheels allow the operator to lower and switch trailers without cranking landing gear or even exiting the cab. Yard trucks move three or four units in the same amount of time it takes a standard tractor to move just one.
  • Safety: The large, curved windows providing enhanced visibility is another key feature that makes this type of truck more desirable than a standard terminal truck.

A yard spotter truck can be extremely cost-effective, especially if you buy preowned late-model trucks that are professionally refurbished.

Buy a Top-Quality Used Terminal Tractor From Route Ready

Contact Route Ready to learn more about our preowned terminal tractor inventory and receive your customized quote. We have vehicles ready to support your operations now. Our trucks are DOT-certified and come with fully transferable OEM warranties, as well as our industry-exclusive confidence guarantee. Call now to get started!

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