Arkansas Best, parent of ABF Freight System, returned to the black for the first time in nearly three years with a $5.3 million net profit in the second quarter on a sharp gain in pricing that pushed trucking revenue up 21.2 percent over the same quarter a year ago."
The holding company's ABF Freight division had an $8.2 million operating profit.
A combination of higher LTL rates and increased freight volume drove ABF's revenue up 21.2 percent year-over-year to $498.6 million in the last quarter. LTL revenue per hundredweight, or yield, increased 9.5 percent, including fuel surcharges, and the Arkansas-based carrier trimmed its operating ratio from 103.3 to 98.2 percent.
By the Numbers: Cass Freight Index
That marked a dramatic turnaround for a company that lost $198.5 million cumulatively from the fourth quarter of 2008 through the first quarter of 2011, when ABF Freight lost $22.6 million. ABF was the fifth-largest LTL carrier in the U.S. last year, according to data provided by SJ Consulting Group, with $1.53 billion in total revenue.
The company maintained a disciplined line on pricing, said Judy R. McReynolds, president and CEO of ABF parent company Arkansas Best, and certainly was helped by widespread moves across the LTL field to shore up rates.
“ABF held firm on requests to better match individual customer revenues with the high level of service and superior value that ABF offers,” said McReynolds.
“Though these pricing actions have caused some business to go to other carriers, the success of our efforts is reflected in ABF’s return to profitability,” she said.
Contact William B. Cassidy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @wbcassidy_joc