Box Truck vs. Cargo Van: Differences and Uses

Box Truck vs. Cargo Van: Differences and Uses

Knowing which vehicle to use for a delivery is crucial when it comes to courier services. While some courier services may determine which vehicle is needed based on the customer’s description of the item being transported, other services, such as Milano Courier Services, allow customers to choose instead. As the customer is the one making the request, they know best which vehicle will do the job properly. At least, they have an idea of how big or small the vehicle should be, and size is probably the only factor they are considering. What they do not know, however, is that there are pros and cons for each vehicle beyond just its size. Box truck and cargo van may sound like interchangeable names for the same vehicle, but they actually belong to two separate types. Here are the key differences between a box truck and a cargo van, and the situations for when to use either one.

The Box Truck

The Box Truck

The most recognizable detail of a box truck that distinguishes it from a cargo van is its body. The box truck is made up of two pieces: the chassis cab that contains the driver and passenger seats and the cargo box that is attached to it. Because the vehicle is not one piece, neither the driver nor passenger can enter the back of the truck without exiting the vehicle entirely. Some box trucks do have a door between the cabin and the box, though these are not as common. If a box truck has no door, then the only way to reach the interior of the separate box is through the rear door, which rolls up like a garage door. This description of a box truck probably brings to mind the 18-wheeler trucks often seen on the highway, but these are not the same. Box trucks are slightly more compact in size, ranging from 10 to 26 feet in length. For reference, semitrailers are over 40 feet in length, with 53 feet usually being the maximum. Finally, box trucks are able to transport items ranging in weight from 12,500 pounds to 33,000 pounds. As a result, some of them come with lift gates, which make loading and unloading large, heavy items easier.

The Cargo Van

The Cargo Van

Unlike the box truck, the cargo van is a one-piece vehicle, meaning nothing separates the driver and passenger seats from the storage area. The driver and passenger are able to freely move between the two spaces without having to exit the vehicle or pass through a closed door. However, a gate or wall can be installed to separate the two areas. The cargo box is also more accessible due to having more doors, with double doors in the rear that open outward and sliding doors on the side of the vehicle. These are the vehicles you see the most on the street, being used primarily by companies. Cargo vans are smaller than box trucks and therefore transport a lower weight range, being able to carry items weighing between 3,000 to 4,000 pounds. In addition to this, the cargo area can be fitted to contain shelves and drawers, meaning there is even less space for large items. To compensate for their small size, cargo vans are more versatile in their uses. Unlike box trucks, cargo vans can have their storage area be built to provide refrigeration, allowing the transport of temperature-sensitive items.

Different Uses

Size and weight are the most defining traits in determining whether to request a box truck or a cargo van from a courier service. Trying to move large pieces of furniture, like a dining room or living room set? Then you would be better off using a box truck. In addition to large furniture and appliances, as implied in the name, box trucks make it easy to also transport large, boxed items. These boxes can be stacked and placed together like puzzle pieces, ensuring they do not move around and collide with each other during travel. Because box trucks vary in size, they can safely transport either a large number of boxes or a slightly smaller load. For individuals, this makes the box truck perfect for relocating furniture from one home to another. For companies, the box truck is ideal for delivering stock items to retail stores or warehouses.

The cargo van is the better choice for smaller deliveries—both in size and quantity. If the number of items you need transported do not come close to filling a box truck, then you should request a cargo van instead. Too much open space between items in a box truck, or any vehicle for that matter, can lead to things moving around and bumping into each other or the walls of the vehicle itself. This will only lead to your possessions being damaged. The cargo van is also best for transporting parcel that must be kept at a low temperature. Courier services are renown for their quick deliveries, and so you may be comfortable with having perishable items transported in nonrefrigerated trucks. However, for peace of mind, you can always request a refrigerated cargo van instead.

Regardless of which vehicle you decide to use, Milano Courier Services is prepared to provide quick and quality service! Get a quote from us and see how we can best serve you with your delivery needs within the New England area. With 24/7 service, same-day delivery, and a variety of vehicles to choose from, we are confident we can accommodate your every need.

If handling a cargo van or box truck is a courier service job you can handle, then become a driver for us! We are always on the lookout for drivers to join and help us deliver quality service.

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