Maverick USA, JB Hunt Lead Trucking Performance

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, Apr. 29, 2013 12:00 am  

2012 proved to be a mixed year for trucking revenue in Arkansas, though three standout performers — two good, one not so much — blew by their peers on the list of the largest trucking companies doing business in the state.

Maverick USA of North Little Rock reported a nearly 20 percent increase in revenue last year. And J.B. Hunt Transport Services of Lowell saw revenue rise more than 12 percent.

On the very disappointing end of the sales spectrum stood USA Truck of Van Buren, which reported a revenue drop of almost 43 percent in 2012 compared with 2011.

Largest Trucking Companies: Click here to buy PDF and spreadsheet versions of the list of the state's largest trucking companies.

Largest Private Fleets: Click here to PDF and spreadsheet versions of the list of the largest private trucking fleet.

J.B. Hunt’s showing was strong enough to propel it past longtime second-place fixture YRC Worldwide, headquartered in Overland Park, Kan. J.B. Hunt reported just over $5 billion in 2012 revenue compared with $4.5 billion in 2011, putting it within striking distance of FedEx Freight’s $5.3 billion first place.

Asked what J.B. Hunt was doing right, Jim Crowell, director of the Supply Chain Management Research Center at the University of Arkansas, provided a series of bullet points for transportation company winners:

  • J.B. Hunt is adaptable.
  • It knows how to manage the margins.
  • It works well with others, such as railroads when implementing the multimodal segment of the business.
  • It has a strong leadership team.
  • It’s forward thinking.

(Read this week's cover story, J.B. Hunt’s Origins Offer Lessons for Today.)

“J.B. Hunt started out as a trucking company,” Crowell said. “If you talk to them today, they will tell you that they are a supply chain service company. The reason for that is their ability to branch out. And they’re doing a very good job managing margins.

“It’s no secret that they are probably one of the premier folks involved in the railroads on the multimodal side, so that has definitely been a very strong suit for them. They have a very strong dedicated fleet group. They also, like a lot of the major carriers, have created a brokerage group,” he said.

“What you’re seeing is a lot of the larger, quote, traditional trucking companies — they’re evolving in a similar fashion, probably more so in response to the success of J.B. Hunt. That would be my opinion. That and two bucks will buy you coffee.”

The self-effacing Crowell, however, hit on the takeaway: Other companies seeking success in what has continued to be a challenging economic environment are modeling themselves after the transport firm headquartered in Lowell, Arkansas.



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