With most publicly held carriers reporting, it’s clear that 2002 was a year of significant recovery for the truckload segment of the industry, at least for the major players. Only one TL carrier – Transport Corp. of America – reported a loss.
|2002 Operating Profits
(in thousands of dollars)
|* Boyd Bros. Transportation||2,738||2,219||23.4%|
|* J.B. Hunt Transport Svc.||100,962||72,210||39.8%|
|* Landstar System||24,191||20,093||20.4%|
|* Swift Transportation||123,389||87,624||40.8%|
|* Transport Corp. of America||-920||6,963||N/A|
|* U.S. Xpress||18,901||13,479||40.2%|
|* USA Truck||9,306||6,486||43.5%|
|* USF Glen Moore||5,311||2,887||84.0%|
|* Old Dominion Freight Lines||36,286||24,725||46.8%|
|Items with * are new.
Source: Carrier announcements
Transport America’s challenges during 2002 included the loss of its largest customer, Sears. Still, the Minneapolis-St. Paul-based carrier realized year-over-year growth in customer-paid miles during each 2002 quarter, said Michael Paxton, chairman, president and CEO. The carrier also had to shift operational strategies in the past couple of years. Transport America had traditionally given up utilization in order to get higher-priced spot-market freight. “This strategy worked well during the 1990s as demand for truckload capacity exceeded supply,” Paxton said. “However, when the macro-economic factors reversed, the high-priced spot-market freight opportunities disappeared.”
In the LTL segment, the story seems to be the profit gains of multi-regional carrier Old Dominion Freight Lines. Chairman and CEO Earl Congdon attributed ODFL’s success during 2002 to an expansion of its sales force in key markets and a continued “focus on becoming a one-stop transportation source for all our customers’ LTL needs.”