Quarterly earnings mixed

The most recent quarterly earnings reports released by trucking companies show that while carriers generally were profitable, some thrived while softer volumes squeezed others

The most recent quarterly earnings reports released by trucking companies show that while carriers generally were profitable, some thrived while softer volumes squeezed others.

United Parcel Services Inc. announced its third quarter (3Q) operating profit increased 1% to $1.58 billion compared with the same quarter last year. Growth in its small package business offset losses in its Supply Chain and Freight businesses.

UPS Freight, UPS’s LTL venture that took off after its purchase of Overnite Transportation Co. in 2005, posted results that were “below expectations due to a revenue shortfall and cost pressures related to the consolidation of its western U.S. unit, Motor Cargo Inc., into the UPS Freight network,” UPS said.

Con-way Inc. reported a 3Q net income from continuing operations stayed relative flat at $63.0 million compared to 3Q 2005 net income of $63.2 million. Earnings from continuing operations in the 2006 third quarter included a gain of $6.2 million from the sale of Con-way Expedite, and reflected a change in reporting of earnings from Vector SCM, LLC, the logistics joint venture with General Motors Corp. GM has exercised its right to buy Con-way's membership interest in Vector.

Revenues of $1.08 billion were essentially flat compared with last year's 3Q revenues.

J. B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. announced record 3Q net earnings of $57.8 million, a 45% increase over 3Q 2005 earnings of $39.8 million. Total operating revenue for the current quarter was $858 million, a 7% increase over that of 3Q 2005. This increase in operating revenue was primarily attributed to growth in the fleet from 11,752 trucks in 3Q 2005 to 12,106 in 3Q 2006. Containers and trailers grew from 49,598 to 51,889 over the same period. The growth in the fleet was to support additional intermodal and dedicated business. Freight rates and fuel surcharges were also higher compared with a year ago.

Operating income, excluding the 2005 arbitration claim of $25.8 million, for the current quarter increased 11% to $100 million vs. $91 million for the third quarter of 2005.

Landstar System Inc.,a company comprised of owner-operators that benefited heavily from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita-related contracts, reported its 3Q net income dropped 12% to $30.6 million compared to the same period last year. Total revenue, which includes fuel surcharges, dropped 4% to $649 million.

Werner Enterprises, Inc., specializing in truckload and logistics, reported that its 3Q net income stayed relatively flat at $24.6 million compared to $24.5 million for 3Q 2005. Operating revenues increased 7% to $541.3 million in that time period.

Heartland Express, Inc. said 3Q net income increased 31.2% to $23.0 million from $17.5 million in 3Q 2005. Operating revenues for the quarter increased 8% to $147.1.

Knight Transportation, Inc. said in the quarter-ended Sept. 30, 2006 net income increased 22%, to $18.9 million from $15.5 million compared with the same period last year. Revenue, before fuel surcharges, increased 15.1%.

Marten Transport Ltd. said net income increased 5.7% to $6.7 million for the third quarter. Operating revenue increased 14.1% to $135.8 million.

USA Truck Inc. reported 3Q net income dropped 19.1% to $3.4 million, in spite of a 1.2% revenue boost to $96.7 million.

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