Types of Tank Trailers

For truck trailers, we have a variety of options: dry van trailer, dump trailer, flatbed trailer, lowbed trailer, etc. But when you want to transport liquids or other sensitive contents, these trailers are obviously not up to the job. The best shipping method is a tank trailer.

What is a tank trailer?

A tank trailer is a heavy-duty truck trailer commonly used to transport the following items:

  • Chemicals
  • Liquid
  • Gas
  • Drink
  • Vegetable oil
  • Corn syrup
  • Dry/Bulk goods (such as grain, sand, cement, etc.)

Not all drivers can drive a tank trailer, especially when the cargo exceeds 1000 gallons, the driver needs to take a knowledge test. This is usually the driver’s endorsement on the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

General Guidelines for Commercial Truck-Trailer GVWR


Class 1: 0-6,000 pounds
Class 2: 6,001-10,000 pounds
Class 3: 10,001-14,000 pounds


Class 4: 14,001-16,000 pounds
Class 5: 16,001-19,500 pounds
Class 6: 19,501-26,000 pounds


Class 7: 26,001-33,000 pounds
Class 8: Greater than 33,001 pounds

GVWR is usually measured in pounds, but liquids are usually measured in gallons, so a conversion is required. This avoids overloading.

Types of tank trailers

Tank trailers are usually divided into four categories, food tankers, oil tankers, dry bulk carriers, and chemical tankers. Each type of tank trailer has different regulations. But all tank trailers require the driver to have a tanker endorsement on a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Food tank

The food and beverage industry relies on food tankers to transport large quantities of consumer goods from production sources to processing plants. Usually, such food tank trailers are cylindrical and made of stainless steel with multiple compartments. This makes it possible to transport various liquids in the same load.

Due to the specificity of transporting goods in food tankers, they are usually insulated and have temperature control options. Because different liquids have different requirements for temperature.

Food tankers typically carry:

  • Milk
  • Fruit juice
  • Liquid dairy
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar alcohol
  • Corn syrup
  • Vegetable oil
Food Tank Trailer

When transporting liquid food, food tankers must comply with strict hygiene regulations and other requirements.

Fuel Tanker

Although some fuels are dangerous, they are also indispensable in our lives. Usually, these fuels are transported in tanker trucks. The fuel tanker, like the food tank trailer, has multiple compartments. Not only are these separate compartments able to allow more than one type of fuel to be carried, but they also prevent fluid flow, which is also a way to improve vehicle safety.

Even if there is only one fuel in the tanker, the baffle is used as a divider. But there are holes in the dividers that allow liquid to flow through. Baffles help minimize cargo movement and control fluid surges. The oil and gas industry relies heavily on tankers for the transportation of oil-derived products such as:

  • Gasoline
  • Diesel engine
  • Ethanol
  • Jet fuel
Fuel Tanker Trailer

When transporting these items, specific hazardous substances regulations need to be followed and cleaned according to standards.

Dry bulk tanker

Dry bulk tanker, also known as pneumatic tankers. It has a conical hopper at the bottom and openings at the top and rear of the tank. Usually, dry bulk carriers are made of aluminum or steel, have only one compartment, and can hold 560 to 3,120 cubic feet of product.

Dry bulk tankers have a wide range of applications, including construction, industrial manufacturing, food and cargo transportation, such as:

  • Sand, cement, and other building materials
  • Sugar, flour, starch, etc.
  • Chemical powder
  • Plastic particles
Dry Bulk Trailer

The advantage of using a tanker to transport these materials is that it is airtight to avoid contamination and moisture. And dry bulk carriers are easy to load and unload, and one of the main advantages is cost savings.

Chemical tanker

Chemical tankers are usually made of stainless steel and come in sizes from 42 feet to 45 feet. If the product is corrosive, tanks are usually coated with an anti-corrosion coating. Its volume is generally between 5,500 and 11,600 gallons.

Common shipments include:

  • Ammonia
  • Chlorine
  • Hydrogen fluoride
Chemical Tanker Trailer

Other types of tankers

In addition to these four tank trailers, others include agricultural tankers, water tankers, compressed natural gas tankers and asphalt tankers. If you are not sure if a tanker is up to the job you have at hand, you can contact us and we will recommend it for you.

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