Arkansas Best’s 3Q net loss narrows on higher revenue, tonnage

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Arkansas Best Corp. on Wednesday, Nov. 3, announced a third-quarter 2010 net loss of $0.7 million compared to a net loss of $5.6 million in the third quarter of 2009. Revenue was $445.5 million, a per-day increase of 11.7 percent from $399.0 million. ABF Freight System recorded revenue of $409.9 million compared to $369.8 million.

“Continuing improvements in ABF’s year-over-year and sequential tonnage trends contributed to better operating results and a reduction in our third-quarter loss versus last year and last quarter,” said Judy McReynolds, president and chief executive officer of Fort Smith-based Arkansas Best. “Throughout the third quarter, the monthly rate of increase in ABF’s year-over-year tonnage improved. In addition, sequential monthly tonnage trends during the quarter were strong compared to recent history. Going forward, ABF must maintain freight growth combined with continued improvements in pricing in order to achieve acceptable levels of profitability.”

ABF Freight System’s total tonnage per day increased 13.9 percent versus last year’s third quarter and 6.9 percent versus this year’s second quarter. Total billed revenue per hundredweight was $23.38 compared to $23.98 in the 2009 third quarter, a decrease of 2.5 percent. ABF Freight posted an operating loss $2.6 million compared to an operating loss of $14.0 million, and an operating ratio of 100.6 percent compared to 103.8 percent.

“The recent additions in shipments and tonnage that resulted in profitability improvements reflect the benefits of ABF’s consultative approach with customers, leveraging the wide range of services we offer in the marketplace,” McReynolds said. “ABF’s experienced employees understand our customers’ supply chains and respond by applying customized solutions to meet specific needs.”

McReynolds said that as market conditions have improved, the commentary on LTL pricing is more positive. “ABF is focused on increasing yields by capitalizing on opportunities to improve individual account pricing,” she said. “It is important to remember that industry pricing is at a historically low point, and a return to consistent, adequate levels will take time.” ABF recently implemented a general rate increase as have its competitors, McReynolds noted. “Though ABF’s rate increase only began a little over one month ago, so far we are pleased with its level of customer acceptance,” she said.