Tanker Trailer:

Usage, Pricing, Services & Freight Quotes


Sam Boyd

May 7, 2024

Join the community!

Tanker Trailer:

Usage, Pricing, Services & Freight Quotes


Sam Boyd
May 7, 2024



Join the community!

Tanker trailers are specially designed for the safe carriage of liquids, gasses, and other bulk materials. In this article, we will delve into the key aspects of tanker trailers, including their features, applications, advantages, and specifications.

And for readers looking for information about tanker trailer freight shipments, we’ll also provide valuable information on:

  • Factors that influence tanker trailer pricing
  • Tips for selecting a reliable tanker trailer freight company
  • And guidance on where to obtain a tanker trailer freight quote

What is a Tanker Trailer?

Tanker trailers are specially designed to transport various types of liquids, gasses, and bulk materials. They are a critical component of industries such as chemicals, petroleum, food and beverage, and agriculture, ensuring the efficient and safe delivery of bulk cargo.

Types of Tanker Trailers

Tanker trailers come in various types, each designed for specific purposes and cargo:

Pressurized Tanker Trailers vs. Non-Pressurized Tanker Trailers

Pressurized tanker trailers are designed to transport liquids or gasses under high pressure, ensuring that contents like gasses remain in their desired state during transport. 

Non-pressurized tank trailers, on the other hand, are used for substances that do not require pressurization, such as milk or water and are often constructed with materials suitable for the cargo's nature. 

The choice between pressurized and non-pressurized trailers depends on the type of material being transported, with pressurized trailers being crucial for the safe and efficient transportation of volatile substances.

Chemical Tanker Trailers

These are used for transporting liquid chemicals and are often made of stainless steel or aluminum to resist corrosion. They may have multiple compartments and are designed for safe transportation of hazardous materials.

Food-Grade Liquid Tanker Trailers

Designed to transport consumable liquids like milk, juice, and wine, these trailers are constructed with materials that ensure safety and quality, such as stainless steel, aluminum, or food-grade plastic.

Petroleum and Fuel Tanker Trailers

These are used for transporting various petroleum products like gasoline and diesel. They are built with safety features to handle flammable and hazardous materials and can have sophisticated multi-compartment designs for different fuel types.

Dry Bulk Tanker Trailers

Used for transporting dry bulk materials such as cement, grains, and sand, these trailers often feature a pneumatic system for unloading.

Gas Tanker Trailers

These are specialized for transporting gases like propane, nitrogen, and others, often under high pressure. They are constructed with materials and designs suitable for high-pressure containment.

Vacuum Tanker Trailers

Vacuum trailers are used for transporting and disposing of waste liquids such as sewage, sludge, and industrial wastewater, equipped with vacuum pump systems for suctioning waste materials.

Water Tanker Trailers

Common in agriculture, construction, and firefighting, these trailers transport large volumes of water and are used for various purposes, including water supply, firefighting, and construction-related tasks.

Asphalt and Hot Oil Tanker Trailers

Designed for transporting high-temperature materials like asphalt and hot oil, these trailers are equipped with heating systems to maintain the temperature of the cargo

Specifications of Tanker Trailers

Cargo Carried: Tanker trailers are used to transport a wide range of substances, including:

  • Liquid chemicals (e.g., acids, solvents)
  • Petroleum products (e.g., gasoline, diesel)
  • Food products (e.g., milk, edible oils)
  • Dry bulk materials (e.g., cement, grains)
  • Gases (e.g., propane, nitrogen)

Trailer Length Options: Tanker trailers come in various lengths to accommodate different cargo volumes, with standard sizes ranging from 42 to 53 feet.

Dimensions: Tanker trailers typically adhere to standard semi-trailer dimensions, ensuring compatibility with transportation infrastructure.

Axles: Tanker trailers are equipped with 2 to 3 axles, depending on load capacity and regulatory requirements.

Trailer Volume: Tanker volume capacity varies widely depending on the type, make, and model but typically range from 6,000-18,000 gallons.

Maximum Legal Weight: Tanker trailers are designed to handle a maximum load of up to 80,000 lbs, subject to regulatory restrictions.

Configuration and Cargo Control

Tanker trailers are engineered to provide optimal safety and control over the transported cargo:

Tank Design: Tanker trailers feature specialized tanks constructed from materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, or carbon steel, selected to suit the nature of the cargo.

Baffles: Internal baffles are incorporated within the tank to prevent sloshing and maintain stability during transit.

Safety Valves: Tanker trailers are equipped with safety valves to control pressure and prevent over-pressurization, especially for gases and volatile liquids.

Bulkheads: Some tanker trailers include bulkheads to segregate different types of cargo within the same trailer, ensuring compatibility and preventing contamination.

Insulation: Insulated tanker trailers are used for temperature-sensitive cargo, such as food products or chemicals requiring specific temperature ranges.

Unique Features of Tanker Trailers

Tanker trailers offer several unique features tailored to the specific needs of liquid and bulk material transportation:

Baffles and Bulkheads: in tanker trailers are internal structures designed to minimize the movement of liquid cargo, with baffles slowing the front-to-back motion and bulkheads creating separate compartments for carrying different liquids

Multiple Compartments: Tanker trailers can have multiple compartments, allowing for the simultaneous transportation of different liquids or bulk materials without cross-contamination.

Compressors and Pumping Systems: Tanker trailers are often equipped with compressors and pumping systems to facilitate the loading and unloading of cargo efficiently.

Vapor Recovery Systems: Some tanker trailers are fitted with vapor recovery systems to capture and control potentially hazardous vapor emissions during transport.

Spill Prevention and Containment Systems: in tanker trailers are crucial safety features designed to prevent the accidental release of cargo and ensure quick containment in case of a spill, thereby safeguarding against environmental and safety hazards.

Weight Distribution: Proper weight distribution is critical to maintain stability. Tanker trailers are engineered to distribute the load evenly across axles to prevent overloading.

Applications and Common Cargo of Tanker Trailers

Tanker trailers are versatile and serve a wide range of industries, including:

Chemical Manufacturing: Tanker trailers transport various chemicals used in manufacturing processes.

Petroleum and Energy: These trailers move petroleum products, including gasoline, diesel, and natural gas.

Food and Beverage: Tanker trailers are employed to transport liquids such as milk, fruit juices, and edible oils.

Construction: Tanker trailers carry dry bulk materials like cement, sand, and gravel to construction sites.

Agriculture: They transport agricultural products like fertilizers and grains.

Advantages of Tanker Trailers

Tanker trailers offer several advantages for transporting liquids, gases, and bulk materials:

Efficiency: Tanker trailers are designed for efficient loading, transport, and unloading of bulk cargo.

Specialized Cargo Handling: They are customized for specific cargo types, ensuring safety and integrity during transit.

Cost-Effective: Tanker trailers can handle large volumes of cargo, making them cost-effective for bulk shipments.

Reduced Packaging: The use of tankers reduces the need for secondary packaging, saving resources and reducing waste.

Temperature Control: Insulated tanker trailers allow for temperature control when transporting temperature-sensitive goods.

Tanker Shipping & Freight 

Tanker Trailer Freight Compliance Requirements

The transportation of liquids, gasses, and bulk materials is subject to stringent regulations and compliance requirements:

Washing Requirements: Tanker trailers are required to be washed before every shipment to prevent contamination. The one exception is when the tanker is being refilled with the same materials as the previous load. When cleaning, the tanker must be taken to a specialized washing facility where it will receive a wash slip once decontamination has occurred. This ensures a tanker trailer that was carrying hazardous materials on one trip cannot contaminate the next bload, which could contain liquid food materials. 

Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR): Tanker trailers transporting hazardous materials must bcomply with the HMR outlined by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). This includes proper labeling, placarding, and documentation. There are nine major classes of hazardous materials, each with its specific label, which is important for safety and compliance.

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA): Tanker trailers used for food transportation must adhere to FSMA regulations, ensuring food safety, proper temperature control, and record-keeping.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): Tanker trailers must comply with the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) guidelines set by regulatory bodies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The GVWR is the maximum allowable total weight of the tanker, including its cargo, fuel, and other contents, with larger tankers often having a GVWR greater than 33,001 pounds. Compliance with these regulations ensures roadway safety and is crucial for operating these vehicles legally and safely

Environmental Regulations: Tanker trailers carrying potentially harmful substances should adhere to environmental regulations concerning spill prevention, containment, and cleanup.

Security Measures: To prevent tampering, theft, or sabotage, tanker trailers may incorporate security features and protocols.

Insurance and Liability: Carriers should maintain appropriate insurance coverage to protect against cargo damage, spills, or accidents.

Documentation and Record-Keeping: Maintaining accurate records of cargo manifests, safety inspections, and compliance documentation is crucial to demonstrating adherence to regulations.

Tanker Trailer Freight Pricing

Tanker trailer pricing is influenced by various factors, including:

Distance and Route: Longer distances and challenging routes may result in higher pricing due to increased fuel consumption and driver hours.

Cargo Type and Weight: The type and weight of cargo significantly impact pricing, with heavier and hazardous cargo generally costing more to transport.

Equipment Type: The type and features of the tanker trailer can influence pricing. Specialized trailers may command higher rates.

Fuel Costs: Fluctuations in fuel prices directly affect freight rates.

Seasonal Demand: Peak seasons and high demand for specific cargo types can result in increased pricing.

Supply and Demand: The availability of tanker trailers in specific regions can affect pricing, especially if there is a shortage of available equipment.

Selecting a Tanker Trailer Freight Company

When choosing a tanker trailer freight company, consider the following factors:

Reputation and Experience

Research the company's reputation and look for reviews and testimonials from previous clients, especially those with similar shipping needs.


Equipment & Technology

Ensure the company's fleet includes well-maintained and modern tanker trailers equipped with the latest cargo safety and tracking technology.

Compliance and Certification

Confirm that the tanker freight company adheres to industry regulations and standards, especially when handling hazardous materials or specialized cargo.

Security Measures

Assess the company's security protocols to safeguard cargo during transit, including tamper-evident seals and tracking capabilities.


Insurance Coverage

Verify the extent of insurance coverage for your cargo and understand the claims process in case of incidents during transportation.

Operational Support

Evaluate the company's customer support and communication capabilities, ensuring timely updates on shipment status.

Route Planning and Efficiency

Inquire about the company's route planning strategies to optimize transit times and minimize delays.

Environmental Considerations 

If environmental sustainability is important to your business, inquire about the company's efforts to reduce emissions and adopt eco-friendly practices.


Cost and Billing Transparency: 

Understand the company's pricing structure and inquire about any additional charges for specialized services. Ensure transparency in billing.


Tanker Trailer Shipping & Freight Quote

If your company requires the services of a tanker trailer for freight shipments, Guided Freight is here to assist. As a trusted freight broker, we specialize in managing complex logistics for seamless transportation. Obtaining a tanker trailer freight quote from our company is quick and straightforward.

Frequently Asked Questions

How big is a tanker trailer?

The capacity of tanker trailers can vary significantly and can range between 6,000 and 7,000 gallons. Some specialized trailers, like those for crude oil, can carry more, with capacities extending up to 16,800 gallons. The maximum capacity is influenced by factors such as the density of the liquid being transported and the tanker's construction.

What is hauled in tanker trailers?

Tanker trailers are versatile vehicles used to haul a wide range of materials, including liquid chemicals, various petroleum products (like gasoline and diesel), consumable liquids (such as milk, juice, and wine), gasses (including propane and nitrogen), and dry bulk goods like cement, grains, and sand.

Do all tanker trailers carry liquid?

Not all tanker trailers carry liquids; they are also used to transport gasses and dry bulk materials. While many are designed for various liquid cargoes such as chemicals, petroleum products, and food-grade liquids, others specialize in gasses like propane or dry goods like grains, cement, and sand, showcasing their versatility in cargo transportation

Tanker trailers are specially designed for the safe carriage of liquids, gasses, and other bulk materials. In this article, we will delve into the key aspects of tanker trailers, including their features, applications, advantages, and specifications.

And for readers looking for information about tanker trailer freight shipments, we’ll also provide valuable information on:

  • Factors that influence tanker trailer pricing

  • Tips for selecting a reliable tanker trailer freight company

  • And guidance on where to obtain a tanker trailer freight quote

What is a Tanker Trailer?

Tanker trailers are specially designed to transport various types of liquids, gasses, and bulk materials. They are a critical component of industries such as chemicals, petroleum, food and beverage, and agriculture, ensuring the efficient and safe delivery of bulk cargo.

Types of Tanker Trailers

Tanker trailers come in various types, each designed for specific purposes and cargo:

Pressurized Tanker Trailers vs. Non-Pressurized Tanker Trailers

Pressurized tanker trailers are designed to transport liquids or gasses under high pressure, ensuring that contents like gasses remain in their desired state during transport. 

Non-pressurized tank trailers, on the other hand, are used for substances that do not require pressurization, such as milk or water and are often constructed with materials suitable for the cargo's nature. 

The choice between pressurized and non-pressurized trailers depends on the type of material being transported, with pressurized trailers being crucial for the safe and efficient transportation of volatile substances.

Chemical Tanker Trailers

These are used for transporting liquid chemicals and are often made of stainless steel or aluminum to resist corrosion. They may have multiple compartments and are designed for safe transportation of hazardous materials.

Food-Grade Liquid Tanker Trailers

Designed to transport consumable liquids like milk, juice, and wine, these trailers are constructed with materials that ensure safety and quality, such as stainless steel, aluminum, or food-grade plastic.

Petroleum and Fuel Tanker Trailers

These are used for transporting various petroleum products like gasoline and diesel. They are built with safety features to handle flammable and hazardous materials and can have sophisticated multi-compartment designs for different fuel types.

Dry Bulk Tanker Trailers

Used for transporting dry bulk materials such as cement, grains, and sand, these trailers often feature a pneumatic system for unloading.

Gas Tanker Trailers

These are specialized for transporting gases like propane, nitrogen, and others, often under high pressure. They are constructed with materials and designs suitable for high-pressure containment.

Vacuum Tanker Trailers

Vacuum trailers are used for transporting and disposing of waste liquids such as sewage, sludge, and industrial wastewater, equipped with vacuum pump systems for suctioning waste materials.

Water Tanker Trailers

Common in agriculture, construction, and firefighting, these trailers transport large volumes of water and are used for various purposes, including water supply, firefighting, and construction-related tasks.

Asphalt and Hot Oil Tanker Trailers

Designed for transporting high-temperature materials like asphalt and hot oil, these trailers are equipped with heating systems to maintain the temperature of the cargo

Specifications of Tanker Trailers

Cargo Carried: Tanker trailers are used to transport a wide range of substances, including:

  • Liquid chemicals (e.g., acids, solvents)
  • Petroleum products (e.g., gasoline, diesel)
  • Food products (e.g., milk, edible oils)
  • Dry bulk materials (e.g., cement, grains)
  • Gases (e.g., propane, nitrogen)

Trailer Length Options: Tanker trailers come in various lengths to accommodate different cargo volumes, with standard sizes ranging from 42 to 53 feet.

Dimensions: Tanker trailers typically adhere to standard semi-trailer dimensions, ensuring compatibility with transportation infrastructure.

Axles: Tanker trailers are equipped with 2 to 3 axles, depending on load capacity and regulatory requirements.

Trailer Volume: Tanker volume capacity varies widely depending on the type, make, and model but typically range from 6,000-18,000 gallons.

Maximum Legal Weight: Tanker trailers are designed to handle a maximum load of up to 80,000 lbs, subject to regulatory restrictions.

Configuration and Cargo Control

Tanker trailers are engineered to provide optimal safety and control over the transported cargo:

Tank Design: Tanker trailers feature specialized tanks constructed from materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, or carbon steel, selected to suit the nature of the cargo.

Baffles: Internal baffles are incorporated within the tank to prevent sloshing and maintain stability during transit.

Safety Valves: Tanker trailers are equipped with safety valves to control pressure and prevent over-pressurization, especially for gases and volatile liquids.

Bulkheads: Some tanker trailers include bulkheads to segregate different types of cargo within the same trailer, ensuring compatibility and preventing contamination.

Insulation: Insulated tanker trailers are used for temperature-sensitive cargo, such as food products or chemicals requiring specific temperature ranges.

Unique Features of Tanker Trailers

Tanker trailers offer several unique features tailored to the specific needs of liquid and bulk material transportation:

Baffles and Bulkheads: in tanker trailers are internal structures designed to minimize the movement of liquid cargo, with baffles slowing the front-to-back motion and bulkheads creating separate compartments for carrying different liquids

Multiple Compartments: Tanker trailers can have multiple compartments, allowing for the simultaneous transportation of different liquids or bulk materials without cross-contamination.

Compressors and Pumping Systems: Tanker trailers are often equipped with compressors and pumping systems to facilitate the loading and unloading of cargo efficiently.

Vapor Recovery Systems: Some tanker trailers are fitted with vapor recovery systems to capture and control potentially hazardous vapor emissions during transport.

Spill Prevention and Containment Systems: in tanker trailers are crucial safety features designed to prevent the accidental release of cargo and ensure quick containment in case of a spill, thereby safeguarding against environmental and safety hazards.

Weight Distribution: Proper weight distribution is critical to maintain stability. Tanker trailers are engineered to distribute the load evenly across axles to prevent overloading.

Applications and Common Cargo of Tanker Trailers

Tanker trailers are versatile and serve a wide range of industries, including:

Chemical Manufacturing: Tanker trailers transport various chemicals used in manufacturing processes.

Petroleum and Energy: These trailers move petroleum products, including gasoline, diesel, and natural gas.

Food and Beverage: Tanker trailers are employed to transport liquids such as milk, fruit juices, and edible oils.

Construction: Tanker trailers carry dry bulk materials like cement, sand, and gravel to construction sites.

Agriculture: They transport agricultural products like fertilizers and grains.

Advantages of Tanker Trailers

Tanker trailers offer several advantages for transporting liquids, gases, and bulk materials:

Efficiency: Tanker trailers are designed for efficient loading, transport, and unloading of bulk cargo.

Specialized Cargo Handling: They are customized for specific cargo types, ensuring safety and integrity during transit.

Cost-Effective: Tanker trailers can handle large volumes of cargo, making them cost-effective for bulk shipments.

Reduced Packaging: The use of tankers reduces the need for secondary packaging, saving resources and reducing waste.

Temperature Control: Insulated tanker trailers allow for temperature control when transporting temperature-sensitive goods.

Tanker Shipping & Freight 

Tanker Trailer Freight Compliance Requirements

The transportation of liquids, gasses, and bulk materials is subject to stringent regulations and compliance requirements:

Washing Requirements: Tanker trailers are required to be washed before every shipment to prevent contamination. The one exception is when the tanker is being refilled with the same materials as the previous load. When cleaning, the tanker must be taken to a specialized washing facility where it will receive a wash slip once decontamination has occurred. This ensures a tanker trailer that was carrying hazardous materials on one trip cannot contaminate the next bload, which could contain liquid food materials. 

Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR): Tanker trailers transporting hazardous materials must bcomply with the HMR outlined by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). This includes proper labeling, placarding, and documentation. There are nine major classes of hazardous materials, each with its specific label, which is important for safety and compliance.

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA): Tanker trailers used for food transportation must adhere to FSMA regulations, ensuring food safety, proper temperature control, and record-keeping.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): Tanker trailers must comply with the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) guidelines set by regulatory bodies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The GVWR is the maximum allowable total weight of the tanker, including its cargo, fuel, and other contents, with larger tankers often having a GVWR greater than 33,001 pounds. Compliance with these regulations ensures roadway safety and is crucial for operating these vehicles legally and safely

Environmental Regulations: Tanker trailers carrying potentially harmful substances should adhere to environmental regulations concerning spill prevention, containment, and cleanup.

Security Measures: To prevent tampering, theft, or sabotage, tanker trailers may incorporate security features and protocols.

Insurance and Liability: Carriers should maintain appropriate insurance coverage to protect against cargo damage, spills, or accidents.

Documentation and Record-Keeping: Maintaining accurate records of cargo manifests, safety inspections, and compliance documentation is crucial to demonstrating adherence to regulations.

Tanker Trailer Freight Pricing

Tanker trailer pricing is influenced by various factors, including:

Distance and Route: Longer distances and challenging routes may result in higher pricing due to increased fuel consumption and driver hours.

Cargo Type and Weight: The type and weight of cargo significantly impact pricing, with heavier and hazardous cargo generally costing more to transport.

Equipment Type: The type and features of the tanker trailer can influence pricing. Specialized trailers may command higher rates.

Fuel Costs: Fluctuations in fuel prices directly affect freight rates.

Seasonal Demand: Peak seasons and high demand for specific cargo types can result in increased pricing.

Supply and Demand: The availability of tanker trailers in specific regions can affect pricing, especially if there is a shortage of available equipment.

Selecting a Tanker Trailer Freight Company

When choosing a tanker trailer freight company, consider the following factors:

Reputation and Experience

Research the company's reputation and look for reviews and testimonials from previous clients, especially those with similar shipping needs.


Equipment & Technology

Ensure the company's fleet includes well-maintained and modern tanker trailers equipped with the latest cargo safety and tracking technology.

Compliance and Certification

Confirm that the tanker freight company adheres to industry regulations and standards, especially when handling hazardous materials or specialized cargo.

Security Measures

Assess the company's security protocols to safeguard cargo during transit, including tamper-evident seals and tracking capabilities.


Insurance Coverage

Verify the extent of insurance coverage for your cargo and understand the claims process in case of incidents during transportation.

Operational Support

Evaluate the company's customer support and communication capabilities, ensuring timely updates on shipment status.

Route Planning and Efficiency

Inquire about the company's route planning strategies to optimize transit times and minimize delays.

Environmental Considerations 

If environmental sustainability is important to your business, inquire about the company's efforts to reduce emissions and adopt eco-friendly practices.


Cost and Billing Transparency: 

Understand the company's pricing structure and inquire about any additional charges for specialized services. Ensure transparency in billing.


Tanker Trailer Shipping & Freight Quote

If your company requires the services of a tanker trailer for freight shipments, Guided Freight is here to assist. As a trusted freight broker, we specialize in managing complex logistics for seamless transportation. Obtaining a tanker trailer freight quote from our company is quick and straightforward.

Frequently Asked Questions


How big is a tanker trailer?

The capacity of tanker trailers can vary significantly and can range between 6,000 and 7,000 gallons. Some specialized trailers, like those for crude oil, can carry more, with capacities extending up to 16,800 gallons. The maximum capacity is influenced by factors such as the density of the liquid being transported and the tanker's construction.

What is hauled in tanker trailers?

Tanker trailers are versatile vehicles used to haul a wide range of materials, including liquid chemicals, various petroleum products (like gasoline and diesel), consumable liquids (such as milk, juice, and wine), gasses (including propane and nitrogen), and dry bulk goods like cement, grains, and sand.

Do all tanker trailers carry liquid?

Not all tanker trailers carry liquids; they are also used to transport gasses and dry bulk materials. While many are designed for various liquid cargoes such as chemicals, petroleum products, and food-grade liquids, others specialize in gasses like propane or dry goods like grains, cement, and sand, showcasing their versatility in cargo transportation

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