J.B. Hunt Transport Services reported its net income in the third quarter of 2013 was $89.5 million, or diluted earnings per share of 75 cents, compared with $78.2 million, or 65 cents per diluted share, in the same quarter last year.
Quarterly revenue for the motor carrier, No. 3 in JOC’s ranking of the Top 50 Trucking Companies, was $1.44 billion, up from $1.30 billion in the third quarter of 2012. Additionally, in the first nine months of 2013, profit was $250.5 million, increasing year-over-year from $226.4 million, and revenue was $4.11 billion, rising from $3.72 billion.
In the third quarter, load growth of 11.6 percent in the intermodal division, implementation of new private fleet conversions in dedicated contract services and an increase in revenue per load in integrated capacity solutions helped drive segment revenue gains of 12 percent, 17 percent and 13 percent respectively. Conversely, truck segment revenue declined by 17 percent, primarily from a smaller fleet and lower tractor utilization, the company said.
Operating income for the current quarter totaled $151 million, versus $133 million in the same quarter last year. The increase in operating income from load growth, higher intermodal container turns and freight mix was partially offset by increases in driver recruiting costs; higher rates paid to third-party carriers for dray, brokerage and truckload services; higher driver mileage pay; higher equipment costs; and lower tractor utilization in the truck division because of moderate customer demand and the new hours of service regulations.
J.B. Hunt was the first U.S. domestic transportation and logistics company to report its third quarter earnings in 2013, according to Stifel Transportation & Logistics Research Group. Although the company did not preannounce lowered guidance for the third quarter — as did Union Pacific, Hub Group, Swift Transportation, Werner Enterprises and Knight Transportation — its earnings nonetheless missed the consensus of 78 cents in the third quarter by 3 cents, or nearly 4 percent, the analyst said.
“The company’s intermodal juggernaut rolled on despite continuing macro-economic sluggishness, but a bevy of other issues ultimately drove the miss,” Stifel concluded. “Still, 15 percent year-over-year EPS growth posted by the company should compare favorably with most other transportation and logistics companies in what is turning out to be a challenging operating environment.”