Terminal tractor

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A Kalmar terminal tractor

A terminal tractor, known in the United States as a shunt truck, spotter truck, spotting tractor, yard truck, yard dog, yard goat, yard horse, yard jockey or mule, is a semi-tractor intended to move semi trailers within a cargo yard, warehouse facility, or intermodal facility, much like a switcher locomotive is used to position railcars.

A terminal tractor moving trailers in the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Distinctions between a terminal tractor and a regular road truck are several and noticeable:

  • A single-person cab offset to the side of the engine.
  • A full-height, sliding rear door for easy access to trailer connections.[1]
  • A very short wheelbase, usually with a solidly mounted rear axle.
  • A low-power diesel or alternative fuel engine, usually with an automatic transmission.
  • A fifth-wheel coupling with an integrated lifting mechanism allows the semi-trailer's legs to remain in the lowered position during movement. 15 inches (380 mm) and 70,000 lb (32,000 kg) of hydraulic lift is typical.
  • 12-gauge steel side wall cab construction with 12-inch (13 mm) steel floors for protection in abusive and dangerous work environments.[2]
  • 360-degree view to facilitate five to six moves an hour.

Since off-road versions do not have to drive on roads at highway speeds, a typical top speed is just 25 miles per hour (40 km/h). It is rare for these vehicles to be on highways, so it was very unusual when a pedestrian was accidentally struck and dragged by a yard truck at an intersection in Bellevue, Washington, in February 2014.[3]

Autocar, Capacity Truck, Hoist Liftruck,[4] Tico, and Kalmar Ottawa terminal tractors are manufactured in North America. Orange EV manufactures pure-electric terminal tractors in Missouri.[5] Effenco manufactures hybrid systems that can be retrofitted on yard tractors. One of many European manufacturers is the Dutch company Terberg which has a US presence. Terberg has also introduced a fully electric yard tractor and an autonomous terminal tractor, the AutoTug.[6]

Assignment and scheduling of yard trucks in order to load/unload containers to/from ship obeying the stowage plan is an important problem for port operators. Efficient and real time solution methods are required by practitioners.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.autocartruck.com/terminal-tractor
  2. ^ "Capacity Texas" (PDF). capacitytexas.com.
  3. ^ Woman struck and killed by yard truck in Bellevue By KOMO Staff Published: Feb 24, 2014
  4. ^ http://www.hoistlift.com/hoist-t-series/
  5. ^ "Quick Spin: Orange EV's All-Electric Terminal Tractor". Heavy Duty Trucking Info. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  6. ^ https://www.terbergspecialvehicles.com/en/products/tractors/yard-tractors/autotug/
  7. ^ Flexible ship loading problem with transfer vehicle assignment and scheduling "Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, 111, 113-134, 2018"

External links[edit]