Refrigerated trucker Marten Transport profited in a cooler economy in the third quarter, increasing net profit 2.9 percent to $6.5 million as operating revenue from trucking and logistics rose 4.7 percent from a year ago to $163.6 million.
The third quarter marked the 10th consecutive quarter of year-over-year profit growth for Mondovi, Wis.-based Marten, although that growth slowed significantly from 22.4 percent in the second quarter and 33 percent in the first quarter of 2012.
Truckload and intermodal revenue rose 5.4 and 11.2 percent, respectively, despite “near-term headwinds” that included rising diesel fuel prices and extreme heat during the summer, Chairman and CEO Randolph L. Marten said in a statement.
Revenue per tractor per week increased 7.3 percent in the quarter, net of fuel surcharges, from a year ago. The company's operating ratio, a measure of profitability, rose to 92.6, compared with 91.3 a year ago, as its operating margin tightened.
In 2011, Marten Transport’s net profit increased 23 percent to $24.3 million as operating revenue rose 16.8 percent to $603.7 million. The truckload carrier is restructuring its network to attract more shorter haul, regional freight.
Regional operations accounted for 72.2 percent of Marten’s truckload fleet at the end of the third quarter, compared with 64.8 percent a year earlier.