Celadon Trucking’s freight revenue dropped 6 percent in the third quarter, but the truckload carrier’s profit rose 23 percent as tighter cost controls and higher pricing improved yield.
The Indianapolis-based carrier reported $5.4 million in profit in the quarter on $141.5 million in total revenue and $112.3 million in freight revenue. The carrier took a similarly profitable route in the second quarter, when freight revenue dropped 1.2 percent but net profit more than doubled.
Miles per truck per week declined 2.8 percent, and the carrier’s seated truck count dropped about 6 percent, as Celadon struggled to hire and retain truck drivers. But the company’s rate per loaded mile rose 3.7 percent, or about 6 cents per mile, year-over-year, to $1.53 per mile, said Steve Russell, chairman and CEO.
Celadon said it will consider “alternative actions” now that struggling rival USA Truck has rejected its request for a meeting to discuss a potential merger. Celadon recently purchased a 6.3 percent share of USA Truck for $4.7 million. Together, the truckload carriers would almost $1 billion in annual revenue.
“Our balance sheet remains solid and we retain significant liquidity to support the growth of our business,” Celadon’s Russell said in a statement Thursday.
Celadon increased its credit facility to $100 million in September and reset its credit terms as it eyes future acquisitions and internal investment.