Weakening economic conditions haven’t slowed trucking giant Landstar System, which says it gained truckload freight and raised rates in July and August.
“Although there was much talk of a major economic slowdown or double dip recession, Landstar has not seen any evidence of a decline in freight volume activity,” Chairman, President and CEO Henry Gerkens said Sept. 2.
“Overall demand in the first two months has been relatively stable and pricing has remained strong,” Gerkens told analysts in a mid-quarter conference call.
Excluding substitute less-than-truckload linehaul freight, loads hauled in the first eight weeks of the third quarter increased 5 percent year-over-year, he said.
“In fact, the current (annualized) rate of volume increase was higher in August than July and I anticipate an even larger rate of increase for September,” said Gerkens.
Pricing, based on truckload revenue per load, increased 9 percent in July and August from the same period a year ago, he said.
Revenue per load for its independent contractor drivers, or “business capacity owners,” increased 10.7 percent in the second quarter, year-over-year.
Landstar’s strong third-quarter start underscores how much trucking operators are outperforming the general economy, which new data from the U.S. government show has been close to recession for much of the first half of the year.
Landstar increased its profit 21 percent to $29.6 million in the second quarter, exercising pricing power inwhat Gerkens called a slightly “choppy” market.
The $2.3 billion company was the fourth largest U.S. truckload carrier in 2010 and the eighth largest trucker ranked by revenue, according to SJ Consulting Group.