Trucking Turnaround? Companies Report Rising Revenue

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, May. 9, 2011 12:00 am  

Last year, trucking sector analysts promised better days ahead in the face of an Arkansas Business survey that saw all the top 15 trucking companies doing business in the state report declines in revenue in 2009 compared with 2008.

This year, the promise appears to be coming true.

Twelve of the 17 firms that reported 2010 revenue showed an increase compared with 2009 figures. The improvements ranged from CalArk International's 4 percent to the 46.5 percent leap reported by Hines Trucking Inc. of Prescott.

(Click here to see a PDF list of the largest trucking companies or here for a spreadsheet version. Click here to see the list of largest private fleets and here for the spreadsheet.)

Although no one interviewed for this article seemed prepared to declare total victory over the recession (a recession felt particularly keenly in trucking, which serves as a leading indicator of economic trends), industry insiders were upbeat, if cautious.

"There's no question that virtually every trucking company regardless of size is experiencing energetic freight demand," said Lane Kidd, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association. "And we're now already beginning to see companies scrambling for drivers and ordering equipment to keep up with that demand.

"We've had probably three to four quarters of solid, albeit small, increases in overall revenue, and I think the first quarter is indicative of a growing economy."

Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Associations, said, "The trucking industry is doing better because the economy is better than a year ago."

"For the total trucking industry, revenue is up 6.4 percent in the first quarter from the year earlier," he said.

ABF Freight System Inc. of Fort Smith reported $1.5 billion in 2010 revenue compared with $1.3 billion in 2009, a 15 percent increase. David Humphrey, a company spokesman, cited "the improving economy. 

"Following one of the longest and most severe recessions in our country's history, manufacturers are now starting to produce more of their products, consumers are more frequently buying various items, and, as a result, more freight is moving throughout the country. 

"ABF has handled more freight shipments and our revenue and tonnage levels have increased," Humphrey said. "As the economy continues to improve, we believe that ABF's reputation for providing value and a high level of service will allow us to add new customers and receive additional shipments from existing customers."     

 

 

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