Carrier Profits Rise in 2nd Quarter

Strong volumes and tight capacity have proven beneficial to truckload carrier Swift Transportation Company, according to equity research firm Legg Mason. Much of the 18.1% increase in second-quarter revenues came from improved efficiencies and cost control. Swift’s operating ratio improved from 94.1 to 91.4. The company also reduced empty miles from 14.58% to 12.93%.

North American equity research firm Morgan Stanley questioned the sustainability of Swift’s improved results citing the fact that most of the increase came from cost control in labor, insurance and supplies. JB Hunt reported record earnings of $45.6 million in the second quarter. Truck revenues increased 8% (excluding fuel surcharges). Intermodal revenues were up 14%. Commenting on the truck segment operating ratio of 87.5, Kirk Thompson, president and CEO, said “It has been a long, long time since our truck business recorded a quarterly operation ratio in the 80s.”

At US Xpress, second quarter net income improved 91.4% to $4.2 million, up from $2.2 million in the same period in 2003. First half income was up 115.7% to $5 million.

US Xpress experienced an 11% increase in revenue per loaded mile during the period. This is the 10th consecutive quarter of improvement, according to the company.

Old Dominion said revenue from operations increased 23.4%to $202 million in the second quarter and net income rose 60.7% to $10.4 million. The carrier’s operating ratio improved to 90.6 for the quarter, vs. 92.6 for the same period last year – the 11th consecutive comparable-quarter improvement, according to the company.

Werner Enterprises also reported its 11th consecutive quarter of higher revenues and earnings. Second-quarter revenues rose 13% to $411 million and net income was up 9% to $21.6 million.

“Freight demand and pricing continued to strengthen in the second quarter as truckload industry capacity struggled to keep up with an improving freight economy,” said Clarence Werner, chairman and CEO.

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