Motor Carriers See Substantial Growth

Most less-than-truckload carriers saw some gain in market share from the Consolidated Freightways bankruptcy in fourth-quarter 2002. That freight has largely come to rest, and that fact contributed to improved financial results in 2003. But carriers in both the LTL and truckload sector report increased freight volumes, including increases in the fourth quarter.

Financial results have seen some substantial impact from a combination of factors. To some degree, carriers' improved cost structures helped improve operating ratios. But, rate increases have also played a role.

Of eight carriers who had reported results by Jan. 29, 2004, total net income rose 31%. The largest gain was achieved by truckload carrier J.B. Hunt, which registered an 84% increase over 2002. Landstar, with a 3% increase in net income, reported the smallest rise, but the numbers were still on the positive side of the scale.

Company

4Q03 income

4Q02 income

03 income

02 income

% chg yr

ABF Freight

$22.80

$27.10

$77.80

$68.80

13%

Covenant

$4.10

$3.20

$12.20

$8.30

47%

Heartland Express

$19

$11.10

$57.20

$42.80

34%

JB Hunt

$26.50

$14.70

$95.50

$51.80

84%

Landstar

$15.10

$14.10

$50.70

$49.20

3%

Old Dominion

$7.70

$5.40

$27.60

$18.50

49%

Swift

$26.70

$16.20

$79.40

$59.60

33%

Werner

$21.50

$17.60

$73.70

$61.60

20%

Three carriers were scheduled to release results Jan. 30, 2004. These are Overnite Transportation, Yellow-Roadway, and USF.

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