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The Rise of the Hot Shot

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Though the term, “Hot Shot” is synonymous with ground-expedited shipping, it has evolved to define a segment of trucking that is growing rapidly. Hot Shot today is typically defined as a four-axle, 1 or 2-ton fifth-wheel pick-up truck with trailers up to 40 feet in length. The trailers are usually open deck with some having the capability for roll on-roll off, allowing for a maximum cargo weight of 20,000 lbs. Hot Shot drivers are not required to have a Commercial Drivers License unless they are hauling loads greater than 10,000 lbs of gross vehicle weight (load + trailer). Hot Shots are required to have both a DOT and motor carrier authority number to haul cargo.

The rise of the Hot Shot has come down to three criteria for shippers:

  1. Lower Cost
  2. Available Capacity
  3. Expedite Transit

In many cases, shippers utilizing a Hot Shot will see lower costs compared to a full truckload or standard expedite. The lack of capacity often found with flatbed carriers can be offset by a strong pool of Hot Shot carriers that haul a partial flatbed load at a lower price point. The range of Hot Shot carriers continues to grow with many shippers using Hot Shot carriers in the 1000-mile range and greater. The most frequent delivery range is 500 miles or less with same or next-day service transit windows. The standard qualification and contracting process should still be utilized for qualifying a Hot Shot carrier. Authority, insurance, history and references are critical to knowing your carrier before using them. Hot Shot carriers are typically smaller in size and may use owner-operators throughout their fleet. It will be important to implement a scorecard process to evaluate each carrier’s performance. Tools such as Four Kites and Macro point may be put to good use in generating needed visibility with the smaller Hot Shot carriers. For more information about Hot Shot carriers and their utilization within your carrier pool please contact your Rockfarm account manager.

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Brad Stewart, President

By Brad Stewart

Co-Founder, CCO

Brad’s journey into logistics began as a Marine Officer and transitioned from the LTL docks to the non-asset side within the logistics service provider arena.  As a co-founder of Rockfarm, Brad drives our business development efforts and delivery of our promise. An Arizona native, Brad enjoys spending time outdoors in his home state with his wife and family.

“Our approach to the market allowed us an opportunity to push forward in 2008 and enable our mission, “lower the cost to serve” to stand as a cornerstone to our company today.”


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