Profits at large truckload carriers soared in 2017 on heels of hot freight economy

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Updated Feb 16, 2018

The strong close to 2017 — in which freight demand soared, capacity tightened and rates jumped to near record highs — boosted revenue and income for the country’s largest carriers in 2017, according to public earnings reports issued by the companies in recent weeks.

Final earnings reports for the year were a stark departure from the same carriers’ mid-year reports, which mostly reported dips in revenue and income compared to the first half of 2016.

Revenue and income climbed for nearly all of the publicly traded carriers, which also drove gains in their shareholder earnings. See the numbers below. (Note: The carriers’ reports vary in terms of what figures they report. Some report operating income and others report net income. Publicly traded carriers not listed below include Celadon, who’s facing an SEC investigation, and P.A.M. Transportation, whose 2017 earnings report was not available on its website or on the NASDAQ site.)

Covenant Transportation

Covenant Transport Semi-Truck

Revenue
2017: $705 million
2016: $670.7 million

Income
2017: $55.4 million
2016: $16.8 million

Diluted earnings per share:
2017: $3.02
2016: 92 cents

Heartland Express

Heartland Express 18-Wheeler

Revenue
2017: $607.3 million
2016: $612.9 million

Income
2017: $75.2 million
2016: $56.4 million

Diluted earnings per share:
2017: 90 cents
2016:  68 cents

J.B. Hunt

J.B Hunt Tractor Trailer

Gross revenue
2017: $7.2 billion
2016: $6.6 billion

Net Income:
2017: $385.3 million
2016: $112.3 million

Diluted earnings per share:
2017: $3.48
2016: $1.05

Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings
Knight Transportation Semi-Truck

Gross revenue
2017: $2.43 billion
2016: $1.03 billion

Income
2017: $200 million

2016: $148.5 million

Diluted earnings per share:
2017: $4.34
2016: $1.16

Landstar Systems

Landstar Semi-Truck and Trailer

Revenue
2017: $3.6 billion
2016:  $3.2 billion

Income
2017: $177 million
2016: $137.4 million

Diluted earnings per share:
2017: $4.21
2016: $3.25

Marten Transportation

Marten Transportation Truck and Trailer

Revenue
2017: $698.1 million
2016: $671.1 million

Income
2017: $90.3 million
2016: $33.5 million

Diluted earnings per share:
2017: $1.65
2016: 61 cents

USA Truck

USA Truck Tractor Trailer

Revenue
2017: $446 million
2016: $429 million

 

Income
2017: ($2.07 million)
2016: ($7.51 million)

Diluted earnings per share:
2017: 93 cents
2016: (90 cents)

Werner

Werner Enterprises 2017 02 09 11 10

Revenue
2017: $2.11 billion
2016: $2 billion

Income
2017: $202.9 million
2016: $79.1 million

Diluted earnings per share:
2017: $2.80
2016: $1.09