Covenant Transportation's profit slipped from the second quarter but the truckload carrier remained in the black with gains in total revenue and freight revenue.
The Chattanooga, Tenn., company increased its total revenue 14.4 percent from the second quarter and 7.7 percent from a year ago to $164.8 million.
Trucking revenue excluding fuel surcharges rose 7.6 percent from the second quarter and 4.2 percent from a year ago to $139 million, the company said.
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Net income in the quarter was $1.9 million, compared with a net loss of $13.6 million in the same quarter a year ago and a $2.9 million profit last quarter.
It was the best back-to-back quarterly performance reported by the company since the last two quarters of 2005, said Chairman, President and CEO David R. Parker.
"Up until the last two weeks of the quarter, we believed that our third quarter performance was going to be closer" to its second quarter performance, he said.
"However, freight did not meet our expectations for the last two weeks of September," said Parker, and the company suffered an increase in freight claims.
Average freight revenue per tractor per week was up 6.5 percent from a year ago to $3,163, Parker said, down slightly from $3,261 in the second quarter.
Average freight revenue per total mile was up 5.1 percent from a year ago, following a 3.2 percent increase in the second quarter, as truckload capacity tightened.
Sequentially, freight revenue per total mile increased 2 percent. "We are continuing to receive rate increases from our customers in most of our operations," Parker said.
Average miles per tractor increased 1.4 percent year over year in the quarter, and the company's average length of haul was extended from 806 to 912 miles.
Covenant returned to profit in the second quarter after nine straight quarterly losses. It lost $25 million on $588.7 million in revenue last year.
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