Truckload carrier USA Truck lost $2.7 million in the first quarter despite a 17.4 percent surge in overall revenue to $124 million as tougher operating conditions and higher fuel costs hit the company’s earnings.
The company, which lost $3 million in last year’s first quarter, said core trucking revenue expanded only 2.7 percent in an improving economy and the trucking division’s operating loss grew from $3.8 million last year to $4.1 million in this year’s quarter ending March 31.
“Rising fuel prices, unusually harsh winter weather, increased government regulation and a tightening market for drivers combined to significantly and adversely impact our results,” the Arkansas-based trucker said.
The fuel price increases outpaced the company’s ability to raise fuel surcharges, even though fuel surcharge revenue grew nearly 50 percent to $24.4 million.
But the inability to get enough drivers may have hurt the company more. USA Truck ended the quarter with 10 percent of its trucks unmanned, nearly double the rate the company averaged during last year’s first quarter.