More specifically, the terminal tractor is a short-haul semi-tractor known for its agility in quickly hooking up and moving heavy loads from one point to another at a storage yard or facility.
Although it’s hardly recognized outside the shipping industry, this “Little Engine That Could” is well-respected and loved by its drivers and operators for their toughness under long hours of wear and tear.
In fact, terminal tractors carry a wide number of nicknames that reflect their hard work ethic. Their monikers include such gritty titles as:
- Yard jockeys
- Yard mules
- Yard dogs
- Yard goats
- Yard horses
- Yard birds
- Spotting trucks and Spotter trucks
Once inside the tight confines of a port or warehouse yard, terminal tractors are much easier to maneuver and operate than regular road trucks. But don’t expect them to win any road races – top speed for most terminal tractors is about 25 mph!
The following characteristics are a few of the features that set terminal tractors apart from regular road trucks:
- A single-person cab low to the ground and offset to the side of the engine;
- Large panoramic windows for 360-degree views;
- Easy access to trailer connections via a sliding rear door;
- A very short wheelbase, usually with a solidly mounted rear axle;
- A low-power diesel or alternative fuel engine, usually with automatic transmission;
- A fifth-wheel coupling with an integrated lifting mechanism that allows the semi-trailer’s legs to remain in the lowered position during movement;
- Heavy wall cab construction for protection under abusive conditions;
- Large panoramic windows for 360-degree views.
With one of the country’s largest inventories of multiple brands of terminal tractors and parts, Turbo Sales & Leasing is recognized nationally as the industry’s leading TICO terminal tractor dealership.