Trucking and logistics giant Con-way more than tripled its net profit in the first quarter, increasing earnings to $25.6 million as revenue rose 9.7 percent to $1.37 billion.
Increases in logistics revenue, less-than-truckload pricing and truckload efficiency backed the Ann Arbor, Mich., company's strong first quarter top and bottom line gains.
Con-way, which had $5.29 billion in revenue last year, increased profit and revenue from the fourth quarter as well and grew faster than it did in that period.
“Our first quarter performance reflected disciplined operations which led to improvement at all business units,” said Douglas W. Stotlar, Con-way president and CEO.
Con-way Freight increased its operating profit 69.6 percent year-over-year to $34.5 million, as yield, a measure of pricing, rose 6.1 percent from the year-ago quarter.
Excluding fuel surcharges, Con-way Freight's yield rose 4.1 percent, one of the stronger increases in the LTL industry in the quarter and a sign that rates are rising.
“Con-way Freight has done a good job controlling costs, delivering an excellent service experience for customers and improving yield over the prior year,” said Stotlar.
The LTL unit's revenue rose 8.2 percent over last year to $831 million. Much of that gain was attributable to higher pricing and fuel surcharges. Tonnage rose 1.5 percent.
Menlo Worldwide Logistics increased revenue 13.3 percent to $419.1 million, while net revenue after purchased transportation costs rose 9.4 percent to $155.7 million.
The logistics division's operating profit leaped 42.2 percent to $12.3 million, thanks in part to improved margins from warehouse and transportation management services.
Con-way Truckload's operating profit also surged as demand rose, rising 48.9 percent from a year ago to $10.6 million as revenue climbed 8.3 percent to $157.3 million.
The truckload carrier's loaded miles increased 1.8 percent, while empty miles dropped from 9.6 percent a year ago to 9.3 percent in what is typically a weak shipping period.
Truckload yield, or revenue per loaded mile, increased 3.3 percent, excluding fuel surcharges, indicating the truckload unit also successfully increased pricing.