J.B. Hunt Transport Services announced third-quarter 2014 net earnings of $102.4 million, or diluted earnings per share of 87 cents, compared to third quarter 2013 net earnings of $89.5 million, or 75 cents per diluted share. The increase in net earnings represents nearly a 14.5% gain.
Total operating revenue for Arkansas-based operation during the quarter was $1.6 billion, compared with $1.44 billion for the same time a year earlier. Operating income for the quarter totaled $172 million versus $151 million for the third quarter 2013.
“The increase in operating income from load growth, higher productivity and rate increases was partially offset by lower box turns from slower train speeds, increases in driver recruiting costs, higher rates paid to third party carriers, higher driver mileage pay, higher equipment costs and higher insurance and workers’ compensation costs,” the company said.
In the company’s intermodal operation, overall volumes increased 8% over the same period in 2013. Revenue grew 8% to $964 million reflecting volume growth and flat revenue per load, which is the combination of freight mix, customer rate increases and fuel surcharges, according to the company. Revenue per load, excluding fuel surcharges, increased 1% compare to third quarter 2013. Operating income increased 6% to $125 million over the prior year.
J.B. Hunt’s dedicated business revenue increased 13% to $361 million over the same period in 2013. Productivity, measured by revenue per truck per week, increased by approximately 4% compared to 2013 due to increased customer demand at accounts open longer than a year and rate increases implemented during the quarter, according to the company A net additional 538 revenue producing trucks were in the fleet by the end of the quarter compared to prior year primarily reflecting new contracts in this and prior periods. Operating income increased by 17% to $34.3 million from a year ago.
During the third quarter the company’s logistics revenue increased 35% to $185 million during the quarter from a year earlier, primarily due to a 24% increase in load volume and a 9% increase in revenue per load. Operating income increased 197% to 8.4 million during the same time due to increased revenue and a higher gross profit margin.
J.B. Hunt’s trucking operation saw revenue for the current quarter decrease 1% to $96 million from the same period in 2013 primarily from a 6% reduction in fleet size. Revenue, excluding fuel surcharge, increased 1%. Rates per loaded mile, excluding fuel surcharge, increased 10% on a 3% shorter length of haul compared to third quarter 2013. At the end of the period, the trucking business operated 1,843 tractors compared to 1,951 a year ago.
Operating income increased by 569% to $4.3 million compared to third quarter 2013. Favorable changes from increased rates per loaded mile and a smaller trailer fleet were offset by increased driver and independent contractor costs per mile, increased driver hiring costs, higher equipment costs per unit and increased insurance and safety costs compare to third quarter 2013, according to the company.
More details are on the J.B. Hunt website.