Rising freight volume and strong rate increases are lifting spirits as well as earnings at Landstar System, the sixth largest truckload carrier ranked by revenue.
Freight volume in the first 10 weeks of the fourth quarter was up 9 percent year-over-year, said Henry Gerkens, Landstar’s chairman, president and CEO.
“Pricing, measured in terms of revenue per load, remains relatively strong,” Gerkens told investment analysts in a mid-fourth quarter conference call Thursday.
Jacksonville, Fla.-based Landstar’s owner-operator revenue per load, or yield, rose 9.6 percent year-over-year in the third quarter, while net profit rose 38.5 percent to $30.2 million on a 9.8 percent increase in revenue to $684 million.
After the conference call, investment research firm Stifel Nicolaus estimated Landstar’s fourth quarter yield will be about 8 percent higher than a year ago.
Higher yield and volume will boost fourth quarter earnings, which Gerkens said could be as high as 69 cents per diluted share, two cents above previous estimates.
Gerkens apparently is done with being “cautiously optimistic.”
“We close out 2011 with much confidence and look forward to 2012 with great optimism,” he said. “We have created a platform for future growth in 2012.”