J.B. Hunt Earnings Saved by Intermodal

Overall J.B. Hunt revenues for its third quarter were up 4% year over year, at $892 million although operating income declined by 5% at $96 million. Specific segment figures show intermodal revenue up 17% at $429 million, with operating income of $61 million, up 32%. Revenues for dedicated contract services were $237 million, down 1% from 2006. Operating income for the segment was down 21%, at $24.4 million.

Particularly hard hit was truckload business with $208 million of revenue, a decline of 16%. Operating income was down by 61% at $9.2 million. Included in last year’s trucking figures were integrated capacity solutions that were broken out separately this year. The segment’s revenues were $26 million, up 146%, with operating income of $1.4 million, an increase of 64%.

As J.B. Hunt explains, integrated capacity is the segment that delivers non-asset and asset-light transportation solutions to customers through relationships with third-party carriers and integration with carrier-owned equipment. Included are flatbed, refrigerated, less than truckload and a variety of dry van and intermodal solutions.

In viewing the result, Kirk Thompson, Hunt president and CEO, notes, “Our intermodal business clearly represents the foundation of our earnings resiliency and demonstrates that our company is no longer driven by the cyclicality typical of a truckload model.” He attributed the strain on truckload income as the result of “depressed freight economy.”

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