FreightWaves Ratings cuts through the noise of freight technology product reviews to make you a smarter buyer

What Is Power Only Trucking?

Power only represents a particular branch of trucking service and operations. It refers to the use of a third-party carrier to provide trucking power for load shipments. 

With the truck provided, this is often referred to as power only as the trailers that carry the shipper’s freight comes from another source. Power only trucking allows for greater control of freight shipment and helps to ensure uniformity of transporting trailers and general trucking services across the entire fleet. 

How Does Power Only Trucking Work?

When shippers opt for power only trucking, the driver does not bring a trailer along with them for the purpose of loading the cargo onto said trailer. Instead, they drive the truck to the designated location and hook up to a trailer that is already prepared at the location. 

Often, the trailer will be pre-loaded as well, making it easy for the driver to hook the trailer up to their truck and get going. The trailer is commonly leased or owned by the shipper, meaning it is not associated with the driver. 

Training to become a driver for a power only trucking company is much the same as any other commercial driver certification. It can be started online through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration training programs.

Is Drop and Hook the Same As Power Only?

Yes, drop and hook is the same as power only trucking. Essentially, drop and hook refers to the simple hook-up process that is used when transporting trailers.

How Do I Get Power Only Loads?

These kinds of load options are often available through freight brokers or online digital freight match-up services. 

Is Power Only Trucking Profitable?

As a highly profitable service, there is a great deal of money to be saved and earned on both ends of the power only trucking arrangement. As such, power only trucking is very profitable. 

Example of What Does Power Only Trucking Mean?

This unique configuration makes it easier to deliver flexibility. It can also be utilized in several different shipping situations, including the following: 

  • Local transportation services that take advantage of drop and hook
  • More capacity for local markets and over-the-road networks
  • Pop-up capacity and flexibility to handle peak season load demands
  • Expedited pick-up and drop-off services with innovative team options
  • Warehouse moves and large-scale product shipment
  • Short turnaround transportation needs optimized with logistics trailers
  • Cross-border transportation services and easy drop-and-go options
  • Trailer transit services specific to pick-up and drop-off services

Things to Consider with a Power Only Trucking Company

When using this trucking service, there are key factors that require careful consideration on part of transportation service providers, meaning both shippers and carriers alike. Here are five factors worth considering when thinking about power only trucking services. 

Expectations and Specific Needs

One of the most significant factors affecting this shipping method is the specific expectations of shippers and carriers. This includes what the customer is expecting from the experience as power only trucking is designed to be fast and reliable. Knowing your customer’s expectations and ensuring you can deliver their shipments on time via power only trucking is key. 

Distance and Location of Final Destination

Since power only trucking is far faster and more flexible than traditional shipping options, this service remains best suited for one-way deliveries and short turnaround drive times.

Access to Technology and Automations

Like much of the modern-day transportation industry, power only trucking services are primarily monitored and accessed via collaborative dashboards through digital freight matching services and brokerages.

Load Type and Special Requirements

Not every load type works for this drop-and-go delivery method, so careful consideration must be made to ensure end-destination loading and unloading requirements are compatible with this type of service when transporting trailers.

Turnaround Time and Delivery Window 

The final factors that can impact how likely it is that your company can implement power only trucking services are the turnaround time and delivery window. Power only trucking relies heavily on the last turnaround time and when deliveries are set to arrive at their destination. As part of the turnaround time and delivery window, it’s important to understand if the driver is expected to drop the trailer and go or if other final services are required at the time of delivery.

Advantages of Power Only Trucking


Managers have more control over their trailers and cargo with power only trucking. As a result, they can focus their attention on that aspect of their business, giving them more control over their fleets and delivery system. 


It is often cheaper to go with this option as there is no worry about fuel costs and expenses. This is because the driver is the one who deals with everything regarding the truck itself, so those who own the trailers don’t have to worry about fuel costs, maintenance, or repairs for the trucks. 


Focusing only on trailer maintenance and upkeep, fall and budgeting concerns decrease as a result of not having to deal with expensive truck repairs, services, and upkeep. So, expenses are much lower with power only trucking. 

Disadvantages of Power Only Trucking 


While power only trucking does offer a certain degree of freedom for load management, the overall scalability of load transportations can suffer when it comes to longer hauls.


Changes made to schedules will be much more disruptive and challenging to work around when transporting goods via power only trucking than they would be with in-house drivers who need to shift their schedules and rework their loads.


Constant communication and cooperation are essential. Without them, drivers won’t be coordinated, lined up, or ready to tackle the drop-offs according to plan.

Power Only Carriers vs Regular Truckload Carriers 

Shippers and carriers are facing challenges as they try to move goods these days, all thanks to continual disruptions and time constraints. Anything that streamlines the process and makes it easier for shippers and carriers to work will naturally be in high demand. 

This has only increased the demand for power only trucking options. According to Transport Dive, statistics show that the need for power only trucking company services has increased significantly in response to recent shopping trends and consumer buying habits. 

Over the past year, power only trucking is currently at an all-time high over the last 40 years. This innovative solution meets needs and addresses concerns that regular truckload services and traditional services have been unable to fix with other methods. 

How to Know When Power-Only Transportation is Right Based on Your Needs and Market Demand

Maximizing load efficiency and managing freight transportation services is easier with the help of power only trucking. From faster loading and unloading to a more streamlined approach and driver management tools, this innovative transportation service is changing the way the supply chain operates. Sign up today for the FreightWaves e-newsletter subscription to help you stay informed about the technological and economic impacts going on in the transportation and supply chain space!