Chemical Tanker vs Food-Grade Tanker

There are many different types of specialized truck driving jobs available once you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and have some experience under your belt. Some of these, like tanker truck driving, require additional CDL endorsements. Because of the skills and extra certifications for these specialized types of driving, they often pay more. If you’re interested in driving a tanker, it’s important to know the differences between various types of tank trucks so you can determine which you may be interested in and know what to expect.

Chemical Tankers

As the name implies, chemical tankers haul chemical products. In addition to requiring the tanker endorsement, they also require the hazardous materials (hazmat) endorsement. The combination of these two is known as an “X” endorsement.

The types of chemicals that tanker drivers haul vary. One of the most common is fuel and fuel tanker truckers are in high demand due to the essential nature of these jobs. Fuel needs to be transported to gas stations, airports, and many other locations across the country. Other types of chemicals also need to be transported across long and short distances for manufacturing and other purposes. Some examples include ammonia, chlorine, and hydrogen fluoride.

Chemical tanker drivers need to be highly-skilled and safe drivers. There is additional pressure and regulations for potentially hazardous freight, and most motor carriers hauling these materials compensate for the additional responsibilities with higher pay.

Food-Grade Tankers

Tanker trucks aren’t only used for hazmat transportation. One of their most common purposes is transporting liquid or dry bulk food products. These trucks move foods and beverages between their production sources and the processing plants where they are packaged for consumption. The tanks often have multiple compartments, allowing for different types of liquids to be transported at once.

The most common type of freight for food-grade tankers is milk. Other types of liquid freight include fruit juice, vegetable oils, alcohol, corn syrup, and vinegar. Food-grade tankers can also haul dry bulk food products like sugar, flour, or starch. If only dry bulk is being hauled, the tanker endorsement may or may not be necessary depending on a variety of factors.

Although food-grade tankers aren’t subject to the same regulations as hazmat tankers, they are still more regulated than typical dry van freight. There are typically strict regulations for the temperature of the load as well as other requirements from various regulatory organizations. Truckers hauling food products need to be aware of and follow these requirements.

Other Types of Tankers

Although chemicals and food-grade products are the most common freight for tankers, these are not the only goods and materials these vehicles can haul. Some tankers haul water, asphalt, or dry bulk materials for construction. The regulations and requirements for different types of tankers vary.

Earn Your CDL and Tanker Endorsement

At Phoenix Truck Driving Institute, we can help you earn your CDL in as little as four weeks. We also include three endorsements with our curriculum: tanker, hazmat, and doubles/triples. This increases the variety of the jobs available to you after graduation.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you become a truck driver.

Understanding Intrastate Trucking

When most people think of trucking, they imagine long-haul routes that travel across multiple states and even coast-to-coast. This is known as over-the-road (OTR) trucking and while it is one of the most common starting points for new drivers, it is not the only type of driving job available. Intrastate trucking, which includes routes only within a specific state, is also an option, although the availability of routes and the requirements for getting these jobs may vary.

More information about intrastate trucking:

What is Considered Intrastate Trucking?

An intrastate trucker transports goods and materials within state lines.

In order for the route to fall under intrastate commerce laws and state-level trucking regulations, the following must be true:

  • The pick-up and delivery locations are in the same state.
  • The truck does not cross state lines. For example, if you have a pick-up and delivery in the same state, but the most efficient route uses a highway that crosses into another state and back, this is no longer intrastate trucking.
  • The freight does not continue its journey and move out of state. This means that interstate commerce laws apply to freight that may be hauled between terminals in one state, but then travel out of the state afterward.

FMCSA Age Requirements

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets requirements for earning a commercial driver’s license (CDL). One of these is that you must be 21 years of age or older to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) across state lines. However, you can earn a CDL with the intrastate restriction if you are 18 years of age or older.

This leads many individuals interested in trucking to wonder whether it’s worthwhile to earn a CDL at 18 and start with intrastate trucking. The answer depends on your individual circumstances and the job market in your area. In most cases, new drivers start with OTR jobs because these are the most accessible to drivers without previous experience and because these provide wide exposure to driving conditions so you can build your skills. However, areas with lots of agriculture or jobs moving construction vehicles may have more options available for younger drivers. Be sure to check the requirements and honestly consider whether you are able to do the job confidently, as many intrastate jobs involve more city driving or other difficult conditions, which can be challenging to navigate in large vehicles.

Types of Intrastate Trucking Jobs

Some types of trucking jobs are more common to find intrastate opportunities for. Depending on specific state motor vehicle department requirements and applicable FMCSA regulations, some of these may or may not require a CDL. Be sure to check the requirements for any specific job you are interested in.

Possible types of intrastate driving jobs:

  • Agricultural transport
  • Tow trucks
  • Construction vehicles, including dump trucks, cement trucks, and bucket trucks
  • Box trucks
  • Garbage trucks

Earn Your CDL in Phoenix

If you’re interested in a trucking career, Phoenix Truck Driving Institute can help you get started. You can earn your CDL in as little as four weeks and we offer job placement assistance. We’re happy to discuss the different types of trucking and your long-term and short-term goals to help find ideal opportunities for you.

To learn more about our CDL training program in Phoenix, AZ, contact us today.


Must-Have Trucking Supplies

Whether you’re new to the trucking industry or a seasoned truck driver, you will spend a lot of time in your cab during long routes. There are many essential items to keep stocked in your vehicle to make it feel more like home. Having the right trucking supplies can also increase your overall comfort while driving. This list of essentials is a great starting point and can be added to as you gain more experience on the road.

Here are ten must-have trucking supplies:

1. Documentation

If you get stopped for a roadside inspection by the Department of Transportation (DOT), there are several documents you need to provide. 

It’s a good idea to have the following papers well-organized and available at all times:

  • Commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  • Proof of insurance 
  • Vehicle registration
  • DOT medical examiner’s certificate
  • Shipping paperwork
  • Vehicle inspection reports 
  • Special certifications (such as endorsements for hazardous materials, tanker, and triple trailer)

    2. Food and Water

Eating all of your meals on the road at fast food restaurants or gas stations gets expensive, so be sure to pack snacks and meals that are easy to make. Items like bread, crackers, baked goods, and certain fruits are great non-refrigerated options. If you have a mini fridge in your rig, you can bring cold items as well.

3. Personal Hygiene Supplies

Toiletries are an essential part of self-care while on the road. Even if you are on a short-haul route, you should always carry personal hygiene supplies with you. You never know when a job may extend or unexpected delays keep you traveling for longer than anticipated. Keep a kit with travel-sized products ready to go in your vehicle. 

4. Clean clothes

Extra clothes are another necessity for life on the road. No matter how long your route is, always pack comfortable clothes for both on and off duty. Make sure you have season-appropriate options also, such as a hat, jacket, and tennis shoes.

5. Tools

A toolkit complete with a wrench set, hammer, and tire pressure gauge should always stay in your semi-truck. Your kit should also include safety apparel like steel-toe work boots, a hard hat, safety glasses, coveralls, and a high-visibility jacket.

6. Emergency Items

Whether you’re a company driver or on your own, keep a medical first aid kit handy in case of emergency. You should also pack other emergency items like bottled water, a flashlight, and jumper cables. 

7. Mattress and Bedding

A comfortable mattress and bedding are must-haves for long-haul truckers. These items will help you get quality sleep and prepare for the rest of your route.

8. Entertainment

Entertainment items like an e-reader, TV, or game console can provide you with much-needed downtime when you aren’t operating your truck.

9. Cleaning Supplies

Stocking your rig with cleaning supplies can help keep it tidy and comfortable. You should keep paper towels, cleaning spray, disposable wipes, a small broom and dustpan, and trash bags on hand.

10. Other Essential Trucking Supplies

Other essential trucking supplies include:

  • Road atlas
  • Pens and paper
  • Chargers for all your devices
  • Road flares and cones
  • Any over-the-counter prescription medicine you need 

Truckers Are in High Demand

The trucking industry needs qualified individuals to haul freight now more than ever. The first step to joining this career field is to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a reputable organization like Phoenix Truck Driving Institute. During and after your training with us, we are committed to helping you succeed as a trucking professional. We offer job placement assistance, and many of our students receive job offers before graduation or shortly after.

Call us today to learn more about our available programs.

What to Expect as a First-Year Trucker

Starting a new career can be intimidating, and trucking is no exception. Settling into your new job can take some time as you navigate the ins and outs of life on the road. The first year of your trucking career acts as a second kind of truck driving school where you can put all of the information you learned into practice. 

As a first-year trucker, you should expect to:

1. Gain Driving Experience

The main goal as a first-year trucker is to gain as much driving experience as possible. The more experience you have, the more routes you’ll be assigned and the more money you will make. It will also help you relax and ease the stress of your job.

2. Adjust Your Lifestyle

Trucking is a career unlike any other, and you will need to adjust your lifestyle to fit its demands. Few other jobs force you to be away from home and on the road for weeks at a time. Be prepared to make the necessary changes to live a rewarding life as a truck driver.

3. Get Less Favorable Assignments

Even if you passed CDL school at the top of your class, you still need to gain real-world experience as a trucker. You can expect to be assigned less favorable jobs for a while during your first year. This will test your ability to deliver a load on time, clearly communicate with dispatchers, and properly maintain your truck. If you are patient and complete each job to the best of your ability, it won’t be long until you are assigned more enjoyable routes.

4. Be Assigned to a Driver Trainer

Many first-year truckers are assigned a driver trainer, so you should be prepared for the possibility. Sharing a rig with another person is hard, but make the most of it and learn from your trainer’s experience. They are a valuable resource and can answer any questions you have about the job. 

5. Miss Your Loved Ones

Another adjustment you must make as a new driver is being away from home for weeks at a time. It is an important factor to consider if you are in a relationship or have a family. Stay in close contact with your kids, spouse, and parents while you’re on the road, and remember that they are the reason you work so hard.

6. Prepare Your Budget

There are sacrifices you’ll need to make if you plan on making a living in the trucking industry. As a first-year driver, you won’t be able to travel as efficiently as a more experienced driver and sometimes won’t get the miles you need. Additionally, living on the road can get expensive if you are not careful. It’s a great idea to bring a cooler or mini fridge stocked with food to avoid eating at truck stops for every meal and snack.

7. Get Lost

You will likely get lost at some point during your first year as a truck driver, so it is important to be both mentally and physically prepared. If you get off track, pull over, relax, and consult your directions, and you will be back on your route in no time. It is also an option to call the supplier you are headed to, as they can give you accurate directions to your destination.

CDL & Driver Training in Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix Truck Driving Institute is a premier educational institution for truck driver training. We have trained thousands of students to pass their commercial driver’s license (CDL) exams and become the kind of professional drivers that companies look for. We’re ready to help you start your journey.

Call our school today to get started on earning your CDL.