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More Fleets Report Third Quarter Results

October 17, 2001

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Trucking companies are digging in to ride out the recession, and several actually reported positive results for the third quarter.


Arkansas-based USA Truck announced record operating revenues of $64.9 million for the third quarter of the year, an increase of 16.8% from $55.5 million for the same quarter of 2000. Net income increased 15% to $589,287 for the third quarter of 2001, compared to $512,357 for the third quarter of 2000.
"In addition to the third quarter's strong revenue performance, the strongest in USA Truck's history, several positive trends are developing on the cost-side of our business," said Robert M. Powell, chairman, president and CEO. "The cost of diesel fuel was down over 12 cents per gallon in the third quarter. Driver recruiting and training costs for the third quarter of 2001 decreased 28.2% from the same quarter of 2000, despite hiring an almost identical number of drivers. Part of that was because during the third quarter we experienced our best quarter of driver retention since the first quarter of 1997. Our October 1, 2000, driver pay increase made many of the above savings possible, but they came at a price of approximately $2.2 million in the third quarter of this year alone."
USA Truck also announced they will not trade any tractors in 2002 and will instead extend the lives of the equipment that would normally have traded next year. In a news release they said, “While this will result in increased depreciation and maintenance costs in 2002, it eliminates the losses that would have occurred upon trade. We will return to a normal trading schedule when market conditions improve."

P.A.M. Transportation Services reported net income of $2 million for the third quarter, compared to net income of $1.3 million for the same quarter last year.
Operating revenues of $53.7 million were reported for the third quarter of
2001, a 13.9% increase compared to $47.1million for the third quarter of 2000. Operating income for the most recent quarter was $4.5 million, compared to $3.4 million for the prior year's third quarter.
"I am extremely pleased with our quarterly report," said Robert W. Weaver, president. "An increase of 43.8% in our earnings per share from a 13.9% increase in revenue for the third quarter of 2001, as compared to the third quarter of 2000, is a tribute to the abilities and dedication of our hard working employees in this time of adversity."

Tennessee-based Covenant Transport announced for the third quarter, revenue decreased 3% to $138.1 million from $141.7 million in the third quarter of 2000. Net income dropped to $1.4 million from $3.1 million in the 2000 period.
"The sluggish economic situation and rising insurance costs and claims continue to negatively affect our results," said Covenant Chairman, President and CEO David R. Parker. "We outlined in our second quarter earnings release a four point plan to return our company to the profitability levels that we produced during the 1990s. We made some progress on these goals during the quarter.
“We reduced our fleet by 320 tractors during the quarter, mainly by turning in short term rental units, which helped increase miles per tractor approximately 1.3%," he said. The company also increased the loaded rate per mile by 1 cent and reduced non-revenue miles to 7% from 7.5% from the previous quarter.
"Excluding the cost of insurance and claims, our operating ratio improved by 70 basis points versus the third quarter of 2000. As a result of decreasing our tractor fleet and paying down debt, we reduced our total debt and lease obligations by another $10 million during the quarter."

Knight Transportation of Arizona announced in the third quarter of the year, revenue, before fuel surcharge, increased 14.4% to $63.8 million from $55.8 million for the same quarter of 2000.
Income from operations increased 30% to $11 million from $8.4 million for the same period in 2000.
"We are very pleased with Knight's results, given the difficult operating environment during the quarter," said Chairman and CEO Kevin Knight. "During the quarter, we decided to write-off an investment we made in a communications technology company during 1998 and 1999. Knight owned less than 4 percent of that company and did not derive any revenue from it.”

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