USA Truck increased sales in the second quarter but its profit dropped $300,000 to $598,000, clipped by higher fuel costs and a fuel-hedge hangover from last year.
A fuel-hedging contract saved the company $1.2 million pre-tax in the 2010 quarter. That contract was sold last year, however, souring the year-over-year comparison.
“We nearly tripled our earnings excluding the effect of last year's fuel hedge gain,” said Cliff Beckham, president and CEO of the Van Buren, Ark.-based carrier.
The second quarter profit was still a return to the black after a $2.7 million first quarter loss at USA Truck, which has been rebuilding its truckload network.
The company has not had a profitable year since 2008, losing $7.2 million in 2009 and $3.3 million last year, despite a 16.7 percent increase in revenue in 2010.
USA Truck had profitable second and third quarters last year, before running back into the red in the fourth quarter of 2010, losing $1.8 million in that period.
The company says it is turning the situation around, increasing its business with core customers in a dense network of regional lanes and raising rates.
Base revenue, excluding fuel surcharges, rose 14.3 percent to $108.5 million. “Our customer, lane and load selection continued to improve,” Beckham said.
The trucker is also diversifying. Although trucking still represents 78 percent of its revenue, its brokerage and intermodal businesses are growing faster.
Trucking revenue rose 2 percent year-over-year to $85.3 million, while brokerage revenue more than doubled, rising from $8.5 million to $17.9 million.
The Strategic Capacity Solutions division handled 16,000 loads in the quarter, according to USA Truck, often providing additional space for its trucking customers.
The carrier’s intermodal revenue increased 91.8 percent to $5.3 million.