USA Truck Reports Smaller Profit, Rising Costs

USA Truck Reports Smaller Profit, Rising Costs

Truckload operator USA Truck reported a profit for the second straight quarter, though its net income slipped by a third from the second quarter to $586,000.

The Van Buren, Ark., carrier increased its base revenue, excluding fuel surcharges, 6.2 percent from the second quarter and 22.4 percent from the third quarter a year ago.

It reported base revenue of $100.8 million and $18 million in surcharges. Base revenue per tractor per week increased 11.1 percent to $2,842.

The company earned $1.5 million in the second and third quarters combined, after a string of losses dating back to the end of 2008. It lost $7.2 million in 2009.

The company re-engineered its network substantially during the recession, slashing its length of haul and concentrating its resources on more profitable lanes.

The average length of haul is now 546 miles, the company said.

It is increasing its "asset-light" brokerage and intermodal services, as well, entering an intermodal partnership with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway in August.

"Our business plan is beginning to take the form we envisioned" in a strategic plan developed two years ago, said Clifton R. Beckham, president and CEO.

Trucking base revenue grew 14.5 percent to $87.6 million, while the company expanded its capacity 3 percent -- mostly through use of owner-operators.

"Freight demand and truck capacity in the truckload marketplace seem to be near equilibrium," said Beckham, "with pockets of strength and softness."

He expects the demand to drop below capacity levels in the post-holiday winter months, but anticipates a more severe capacity shortage starting in the spring.

-- Contact William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com.