This time last year Dennis Oakley, president of North Little Rock’s Bruce Oakley Inc., seemed unsure of how his commodities and commodities transport company would perform in 2012.
Oakley was hopeful the firm would “catch up” with a strong performance from the previous year. But numbers were slightly behind, and based on what he was seeing, nothing was guaranteed.
Well, Bruce Oakley caught up and then some, eclipsing $1 billion in revenue last year. That’s a 48 percent jump from 2011 and nearly double the $509.4 million in revenue the firm did in 2010.
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“We wound up having a decent year,” Oakley said. “We were fortunate to perform like we did and show improvement.”
There were several other revenue improvements for state transport companies in 2012, though nobody matched the leap made by Bruce Oakley. Plus, the list has a new entry, giving the state at least four transport companies with more than $100 million in revenue for 2012.
Maverick USA Inc., also of North Little Rock, had $286.9 million in revenue for 2012. That was a nearly 20 percent jump from the previous year. Maverick USA, which again ranked No. 2 on the list of privately owned transportation companies in Arkansas, is the parent company of Maverick Transportation LLC, Maverick Logistics LLC and Maverick Truck & Trailer Sales.
Salmon Cos., formerly Pat Salmon & Sons, is a new entry on the list, although it should have entered the list two years ago, when acquisition activity boosted its revenue from $34.4 million in fiscal 2009 to $142.8 million in fiscal 2010. Salmon Cos. transports mail for the U.S. Postal Service, and its 2012 acquisition of Mail Contractors of America of Little Rock pushed its revenue last year to $228 million.
CalArk International ranks fourth among private transportation companies with $130 million in revenue. That’s a 4.2 percent decrease for Mabelvale’s long-haul trucking firm.
Where Bruce Oakley Inc. again took advantage was with its diverse services. In addition to moving commodities by truck, the firm also owns a barge line and towboat fleet to help move the barges. Also operating under the Bruce Oakley Inc. umbrella are Oakley Grain Inc. and Oakley Fertilizer Inc.
Record corn prices and a spike in the cost of fertilizer were key in the company posting such a large jump in revenue, Dennis Oakley said.
Dennis Oakley allows himself a little more optimism about his company’s performance for the current fiscal year, which will end in September. He didn’t want to predict another revenue record, especially with barge traffic appearing to be down. Moving barge freight on the Arkansas and lower Mississippi rivers, Oakley said, has been key to the company’s growth in recent years.
But trucking revenue is up for 2013, he said. And commodities prices remain high, so sales can help offset any underperforming areas.
“It’s hard to know how we’ll end up,” Oakley said. “Barge freight is taking a beating. Trucking is up. Hopefully we can finish strong. So far we’re about the same for 2013. We might even be a little ahead of last year.”