First quarter profits up for J.B. Hunt

First quarter profits up for J.B. Hunt

Trucking conglomerate J. B. Hunt Transport Services reported net earnings of $91.9 million on $1.44 billion revenue for the first quarter of 2015 – a nearly $30 million jump from profits of $68.7 million on revenues of $1.41 billion in the first quarter of 2014.

The carrier noted its total operating revenue increased 10% in the first quarter this year compared to the same period in 2014 – an increase driven by rate increases load growth across all of its divisions except the truckload segment.

Hunt said intermodal (JBI) load growth increased 6% over first quarter 2014 levels, with business in its dedicated contract services (DCS) segment increasing by 7% and in its integrated capacity solutions (ICS) division up 17% over the same period last year, though lower revenue per load kept segment revenue flat compared to 2104.

Its TL division (JBT), however, witnessed a 1% decline in revenue due to lower revenue per tractor per week.

  • Intermodal (JBI): Operating income up 12% to $104.3 million on 1% higher revenues of $844 million. Load volumes grew 6% over the same period in 2014 with the carrier’s eastern network seeing load growth of 12% while transcontinental loads only increasing 2% compared to last year due to west coast port issues limiting eastbound intermodal traffic. Revenue per load excluding fuel surcharge revenue increased 3% year over year. Hunt noted its JBI fleet now includes 4,900 drayage power units and 74,200 trailers.
  • Dedicated Contract Services (DCS): operating income up 130% to $35.8 million on 7% higher revenues of $345 million. Hunt said productivity, defined as revenue per truck per week, increased some 1.4% vs. 2014 due to customer rate increases and additional activity at customer accounts. That allowed the company to add 336 revenue producing trucks by the end of the first quarter compared to last year. However, Hunt stressed some of its higher profits in the DCS division are being partially offset by higher driver wage and recruiting costs and higher equipment depreciation costs.
  • Integrated Capacity Solutions (ICS): operating income up 8% to $6.6 on flat revenues of $163 million. Hunt said that while its ICS volumes increased 17%, revenue per load decreased 14.5% primarily due to lower fuel prices and less transactional customer demand compared to last year. Still, Hunt added that its ICS carrier base increased nearly 16% and employee count increased 21% compared to first quarter of 2014.
  • Truckload (JBT): Operating income up 248% to $8.5 million on 1% lower revenues of $91 million. Hunt said more trucks, better asset utilization, improved freight lane networks and core customer rate increases of approximately 9% helped it boost profits in this segment – now its smallest – in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. Its TL fleet now numbers 2,020 tractors compared to 1,917 in the first quarter of 2014.
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