Truckload operator USA Truck lost $1.8 million in the fourth quarter, despite a decline in empty miles and substantial increase in trucking revenue.
Higher fuel costs bit into the company's bottom line, as diesel fuel prices USA Truck paid rose on average 41 cents during the quarter, the company said.
"While most of our contracts allow us to adjust the rate of (the fuel) surcharge weekly … there is a lag," said Clifton R. Beckham, president and CEO.
The company's sales increased 19.8 percent year-over-year to $102 million. But revenue increased only slightly from $100.8 million in the third quarter.
However, higher base revenue per tractor per week helped the Van Buren, Ark., company narrow its loss from $2.5 million in the fourth quarter a year ago.
Base revenue per loaded mile improved 6.4 percent, and loaded miles increased 3.3 percent year-over-year. Load count grew 10.3 percent year-over-year.
For the full year, USA Truck posted a $3.3 million net loss on $386.9 million in revenue, a 16.7 percent increase in sales from the recession year of 2009.
In 2009, USA Truck lost $7.2 million on $331.5 million in sales, a 16.6 percent drop from its $397.6 million in revenue in 2008, when it earned $3.1 million.
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