USA Truck Reports 4Q Loss of $4.8M

USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren reported it lost $4.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, a decrease from a $5.3 million profit a year ago.

Earnings per share was a loss of 56 cents; a year ago, it was 64 cents.

Revenue was $124.1 million, compared to $141.1 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018.

For the year, the company reported a loss of $4.7 million compared to a profit of $12.2 million for fiscal 2018. Fiscal 2019 revenue was $522.6 million, down from $534 million.

"Our results were meaningfully impacted by the difficult freight market during the fourth quarter of 2019. The soft spot market and widely reported supply-demand imbalance affected both our contract and spot market opportunities during the quarter,” President and CEO James Reed said in a news release.

“Market rates remained pressured during the quarter and shippers allocated large portions of their freight spend to the lowest cost alternatives,” he continued. “Adding to the near term pressures were organizational changes we expect will enhance our business in the long term, but which resulted in our experiencing the effects of a tough market more severely than our peers.”

The organizational changes included regionalizing its operations, investing in technology upgrades, and identifying and taking cost-control measures, such as reducing by 8% its non-driver support staff.

USA Truck’s Trucking division reported revenue of $92.1 million, down nearly 8% year over year. Trucking reported 43.5 million miles covered, up from 42.7 million miles a year ago, but the key metric of revenue per truck per week was $3,163, down from $3,447 in the same quarter of 2018.

“The fourth quarter was challenging, but we are encouraged by the progress and momentum gained over the last month and a half, specifically in our trucking operations. January has begun with what we believe is a positive market inflection; customer bid activity and freight volumes are improved over recent trends,” Reed said. “We have also increased our win percentage in the bid process including recent dedicated contracts, which speaks to our customers' confidence in the changes we are making. As the market improves and our self-help efforts continue to gain momentum, we believe the future of USA Truck is bright."

The Logistics division reported revenue of $33.6 million, down from $44.5 million a year ago. 

Reed said, “The fourth quarter was particularly tough for our logistics business, which experienced lower volumes and margins given the turmoil in the broader industry. We are committed to growing and returning USAT Logistics to its profitable trajectory through intense focus on increasing load count, using technology partners to proactively book and manage freight, and expanding our presence in higher touch freight modes where we are very successful.”