The company said a significant portion of the earnings improvement was a result of its continued focus on higher revenue per loaded mile, an intense focus on freight selection and reduced empty miles.
Total operating revenue for the year was $2.25 billion, compared with $2.1 billion in 2001. Operating income rose 40% from $72.2 million in 2001 to $101 million in 2002 on a 7% rise in revenue.
Lowell, AR-based J.B. Hunt said fourth-quarter 2002 earnings were hurt by a higher income tax rate, higher insurance and claims costs, and a loss incurred on a terminal facility the company has agreed to sell.
Fourth-quarter 2002 net earnings were $14.7 million, compared with 2001 fourth-quarter earnings of $18.2 million.
Truck rates continued the trend of the last several quarters by increasing 4.9% while empty miles declined to 9.3% in the 2002 fourth quarter vs. 12.0% in 2001. Revenue per truck per day in the truck segment increased to $564 in the fourth quarter of 2002 vs. $525 per day a year earlier.