Lorry vs. Truck

What's the Difference?

Lorry and truck are both types of vehicles used for transporting goods, but they differ in certain aspects. A lorry, also known as a truck in some regions, is typically smaller in size and used for local or regional transportation. It is commonly used for delivering goods within a city or town. On the other hand, a truck is generally larger and designed for long-haul transportation, covering vast distances. Trucks are commonly used for transporting goods between cities or even across countries. Additionally, trucks often have more powerful engines and larger cargo capacities compared to lorries.


Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash
SizeGenerally largerCan vary in size
UsagePrimarily used for transporting goodsUsed for various purposes including transportation of goods, materials, or equipment
WeightCan carry heavy loadsCan carry heavy loads
DesignTypically has a separate cabin and cargo areaCan have a separate cabin and cargo area or an integrated design
TerminologyCommonly used in British EnglishCommonly used in American English
Regional DifferencesMore commonly used in the UK and EuropeMore commonly used in North America
TypesIncludes articulated lorries, box lorries, flatbed lorries, etc.Includes pickup trucks, dump trucks, semi-trucks, etc.
Photo by Caleb Ruiter on Unsplash

Further Detail


When it comes to transportation and logistics, two commonly used vehicles are lorries and trucks. While they may seem similar at first glance, there are distinct differences between the two. In this article, we will explore the attributes of lorries and trucks, highlighting their unique features, purposes, and capabilities.

Size and Capacity

One of the primary differences between lorries and trucks lies in their size and capacity. Lorries, also known as "light goods vehicles" or "vans," are generally smaller in size compared to trucks. They are designed to transport goods within urban areas or for short distances. Lorries typically have a maximum weight capacity of up to 3.5 tons, making them suitable for smaller loads.

On the other hand, trucks are larger and more robust vehicles, built to handle heavy loads and long-distance transportation. They come in various sizes, ranging from medium-duty trucks to heavy-duty trucks. Trucks can have a weight capacity of several tons, depending on their classification. Their larger size allows for the transportation of bulkier goods, making them ideal for long-haul journeys.

Design and Structure

Another differentiating factor between lorries and trucks is their design and structure. Lorries typically have a cab attached to a cargo area, forming a single unit. The cargo area is usually enclosed, providing protection to the goods being transported. This design allows for easy loading and unloading of goods, making lorries suitable for urban deliveries where space may be limited.

Trucks, on the other hand, often have a separate cab and cargo area. The cab, also known as the "tractor" or "prime mover," is responsible for hauling the cargo. The cargo area, called the "trailer," is attached to the cab using a hitch or coupling mechanism. This design enables trucks to transport larger quantities of goods and accommodate specialized trailers for specific purposes, such as refrigerated trailers for transporting perishable items.

Usage and Applications

Lorries find their applications in a wide range of industries, including local deliveries, courier services, and small-scale logistics. Their compact size and maneuverability make them suitable for navigating through narrow streets and congested urban areas. Lorries are commonly used for transporting goods to retail stores, supermarkets, and residential areas, ensuring efficient distribution within a city or town.

Trucks, on the other hand, are commonly employed in long-haul transportation, industrial logistics, and construction. Their larger size and higher weight capacity allow for the transportation of heavy machinery, construction materials, and bulk goods over long distances. Trucks are also utilized in industries such as mining, agriculture, and oil and gas, where the transportation of large quantities of goods or equipment is required.

Fuel Efficiency and Environmental Impact

When it comes to fuel efficiency, lorries generally have an advantage over trucks. Due to their smaller size and lighter weight, lorries consume less fuel compared to trucks. This makes them more economical for short-distance deliveries and urban transportation. Additionally, lorries often have more fuel-efficient engines, designed to optimize fuel consumption and reduce emissions.

Trucks, on the other hand, tend to have larger engines and consume more fuel due to their heavier weight and higher load capacity. However, advancements in technology have led to the development of more fuel-efficient truck engines and the implementation of emission control systems. Many modern trucks now comply with strict environmental regulations, reducing their impact on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.

Driver Requirements and Licensing

Driving a lorry and driving a truck may require different licenses and qualifications. In many countries, operating a lorry falls under the category of a standard driver's license, as long as the vehicle's weight does not exceed a certain limit. This allows for a broader pool of drivers who can operate lorries, making it more accessible for individuals seeking employment in the transportation industry.

On the other hand, driving a truck often requires a specialized commercial driver's license (CDL) due to the larger size and weight capacity of these vehicles. Obtaining a CDL involves additional training, testing, and certification, ensuring that truck drivers possess the necessary skills and knowledge to operate these heavy-duty vehicles safely.


In conclusion, while lorries and trucks share the common purpose of transporting goods, they differ significantly in terms of size, capacity, design, usage, fuel efficiency, and driver requirements. Lorries are smaller, more maneuverable vehicles suitable for urban deliveries and short distances, while trucks are larger, heavy-duty vehicles designed for long-haul transportation and industrial logistics. Understanding the attributes of lorries and trucks is essential for businesses and individuals involved in the transportation industry, enabling them to choose the most suitable vehicle for their specific needs.

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