USA Truck reports 4Q net loss of $1.6M

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USA Truck Inc. today, Jan. 24, announced base revenue of $95.7 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, an increase of 3.8 percent from $92.2 million for the same quarter of 2006. Net income decreased from $1.2 million for the 2006 quarter to a net loss of $1.6 million for the same quarter of 2007.

Base revenue increased 1.5 percent from $385.3 million for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2006, to $391.2 million for 2007. Net income decreased from $12.4 million for the 12-month 2006 period to about $140,000 for 2007.

“A challenging freight environment characterized by the continued imbalance between freight demand and industry capacity constrained revenue volume,” said Cliff Beckham, president and chief executive officer of Van Buren, Ark.-based USA Truck. “The accrual of prejudgment interest and legal fees associated with an adverse litigation verdict, higher fuel prices and an increase in fleet maintenance costs also impacted earnings.”

Beckham said improvements to operational efficiency were offset by intense competition in the marketplace that drove the company’s trucking revenue per loaded mile down 2.8 percent. “Overall, base revenue per tractor per week improved, but not enough to overcome increased costs,” he said. “In response, we have implemented several initiatives consistent with our long-term strategic objectives to improve revenue production, financial returns and earnings consistency.” Beckham said these initiatives include:

  • Taking steps to double Strategic Capacity Solutions (freight brokerage) revenue in 2008;
  • Establishing a presence in the domestic intermodal market. “We moved our first intermodal load in December, and plan to ramp up our intermodal presence in 2008,” Beckham said. “However, it is not likely that intermodal operations will have a meaningful impact on our 2008 revenue.”;
  • Pursuing more dedicated freight opportunities to utilize excess over-the-road tractors in the company’s fleet;
  • Improving technology platforms;
  • Doubling the owner-operator fleet this year;
  • Pursuing opportunities with certain customers that have the potential of increasing revenue as early as the end of January; and
  • Focusing management attention on tactical operations within the company’s General Freight and Regional Freight divisions.