Several mainly truckload fleets have released first quarter results, with USA Truck and Frozen Food Express reporting narrower losses from a year ago, while Covenant Transport’s widened, P.A.M. Transportation went from a profit to a loss, and Patriot Transportation showed a bigger profit.

USA Truck

USA Truck reported a first quarter loss of $2.5 million compared to a loss of $4.9 million for the same quarter of 2012 while revenue increased 7.2% to $104.9 million from $97.8 million during the same time a year ago.

"Our [asset-based] trucking segment led the way with a 50% improvement in operating results on revenue growth of 5.1% while expenses grew at 1%,” said John Simone, president and CEO. “Our loaded length-of-haul increased by 11.8%, and our rate per total mile simultaneously improved by 2.7%. Operationally, we executed better, improving miles per seated truck per week by 2.7%, as we continue to focus on asset productivity.”

Simone also said most costs associated with its trucking segment were lower due to a variety of cost control initiatives, including efforts to reduce driver turnover, which improved by 22.6% year-over-year.

The company’s non-asset based SCS segment produced operating income of $1.3 million, and experienced 22.0% revenue growth, when compared to the same quarter of the prior year.

More details are on the USA Truck website.

Covenant Transport

Covenant Transportation had a net loss of $2 million in the first quarter of the year compared with net loss of $600,000 in the first quarter of 2012. This happened despite total revenue increasing to $164.7 during the period, 4.9% higher than the same time a year ago.

“We experienced an uneven operating environment in the first quarter as January freight was strong, followed by average demand but difficult weather conditions in February, and a March that started off well, but finished weaker than expected,” said David R. Parker, chairman, president and CEO. “In addition, the first quarter of 2013 basically had two fewer business days than the prior period, due to leap year in 2012 and an early Easter in 2013.”

For the quarter, total revenue in the company asset-based operations increased to $157.5 million, a hike of $5.1 million compared with the first quarter of 2012. 

“This increase consisted of higher freight revenues of $4.7 million and higher fuel surcharge revenue of $400,000,” said Parker. “The $4.7 million increase in freight revenues related to an 8.8% increase in average freight revenue per tractor per week, partially offset by a 3.9% decrease in our average tractor fleet.”

Parker noted Covenant is continuing to grow its owner-operator fleet as a percentage of its total fleet.

Further information is available from the Covenant Transport website.

P.A.M. Transportation

P.A.M. Transportation Services reported a net loss of $456,267 for the first quarter of the year compared to net income of $674,193 the same time a year ago.

Operating revenues totaled $100 million during the period, a 4% increase compared to $96.2 million for the first quarter of 2012.

"Revenue, excluding fuel surcharge, grew by 3.5% for the first quarter 2013 compared to the first quarter 2012,” said Daniel H. Cushman, president of P.A.M. "This growth was driven by a 57-truck increase in our average fleet size, a 10% reduction in uncompensated empty miles and 4.3% year over year growth in our supply chain solutions revenue and was accomplished despite one less business day in the first quarter 2013 compared to 2012.”

He said higher diesel fuel prices and harsher weather conditions that led to more fuel using while idling offset much of the year-over-year improvement the company had been seeing from newer equipment and fuel efficiency programs.

More information about P.A.M. first quarter performance is available from Business Wire.

Frozen Food Express

Frozen Food Express reported a smaller first quarter loss compared to the same time in 2012, saying it improved to a loss of $3.3 million, compared to last year's $5.6 million loss. Total revenue during the period was $97.8 million, an 11.3% increase fro the same time a year ago.

Total truckload revenue during the first quarter improved 9% from the first quarter of 2012 to $37.9 million while less-than-truckload revenue increased 17.8% to $33.4 million.

During the first quarter of 2013, total operating expenses increased $8.7 million, or 9.4%, to $101.9 million compared to $93.1 million during the first quarter of 2012.

"The primary factor related to the year-over-year increase in operating expenses was the increase in truckload linehaul miles of 12.% and LTL tonnage of 9.9% versus the first quarter of 2012,” said Russell Stubbs, president and CEO. “To handle this volume, the company increased the number of weekly average trucks in service to 1,660, versus 1,482 during the same period last year. A significant part of this increase in trucks came from independent owner-operators as the company focused on growing its fleet by utilizing this resource.”

Further information is on the FFE web site.

Patriot Transportation

The owner of Florida Rock & Tank Lines, Patriot Transportation, reported net income of $2.3 million at the end of its fiscal second quarter, an increase of 38.2%, compared to $1.6 million during the same period last year.

Total revenue, which includes various real estate and mining holdings, was $33.9 million, an increase of 8.1% over the same quarter last year while transportation segment revenue was $27.1 million, an increase of $1.7 million over the same quarter last year.

The company said revenue miles in the most recent quarter were up 5.4% compared to the second quarter of fiscal 2012 “due to business growth and a longer average haul length. Revenue per mile increased 1.4% over the same quarter last year “due to rate increases and higher fuel surcharges partially offset by a longer average haul length.” It also reported fuel surcharge revenue decreased $77,000 “due to changes to certain customer rates to incorporate fuel surcharges into base rates.”

More information is on the Patriot Transportation website