Vitran's losses deepened in the first quarter to $5.8 million as the Canadian-based company struggled to improve its U.S. less-than-truckload operations.
Vitran hired Chris Keylon, a former FedEx Freight executive, as president of Vitran Express U.S. in January, hoping to turn around a division that stumbled in 2011.
The $5.8 million net loss compares with a $200,000 net loss in the same period a year ago. Revenue increased 12.1 percent to $207.7 million in the quarter.
“We think we can say that January was the low-water mark in the U.S.,” Rick Gaetz, president and CEO of the Toronto-based carrier, said in a statement.
“Losses were cut substantially in February and again in March had it not been for a $1 million increase in workers compensation expense,” Gaetz said.
Vitran narrowed an annual loss in 2011 to $14 million, compared with a $38.1 million net loss in 2010. Revenue increased 20 percent to $806 million.
Vitran Express U.S. struggled last year to absorb the regional LTL operations of Milan Express, a Tennessee-based carrier it acquired in January 2011.
The acquisition expanded Vitran's LTL coverage in a 10-state region stretching across the Midwest from Illinois into the deep South and the Carolinas.
Keylon is working to reengineer the U.S. operation’s organization structure to enhance service quality and improve efficiencies, Gaetz said Tuesday.