ArcBest Corp. on Monday announced it was back in the black during the first quarter for the first time in seven years, reporting first quarter net income of $700,000 or 3 cents per share.

This compares to a net loss of $5.2 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier for the parent of ABF Freight and others.

Total revenue during the period increased to $613.3 million from $577.9 million.

"As productivity and pricing improved, ABF Freight reversed last year's first-quarter losses while maintaining its focus on better serving customers,” said ArcBest President and CEO Judy R. McReynolds. “The emerging businesses contributed their largest revenue portion yet to ArcBest, at 29% of total consolidated revenue, as our efforts to provide tailored, customized solutions across the supply chain are resonating well."

The less than truckload operation, ABF Freight, reported revenue of $441.2 million compared to $428.9 million in first quarter 2014, an increase of 2.9%

Tonnage per day decrease of 0.5% versus first quarter 2014

Total billed revenue per hundredweight of $28.06 compared to $27.05 the prior year, an increase of 3.7%

“Though less of an effect than last year, results include a reduction in operating income associated with severe winter weather,” the company said in a statement. “By effectively managing its labor and equipment resources during the quarter, ABF Freight sought to maintain consistent service levels to both new and existing LTL customers. Management focus has resulted in improved dock productivity as employees hired last year are more experienced in freight handling and loading.”

In the company’s non-asset based business, first quarter revenue totaled $183.7 million compared to $158.4 million in first quarter 2014, an increase of 16%

“During the first quarter, ArcBest's emerging, non-asset-based businesses continued to experience revenue growth highlighted by strong, double digit increases at ABF Logistics and ABF Moving,” said ArcBest. “ABF Logistics experienced significant growth in the freight brokerage business associated with additional shipments from new and existing customers and the expanding benefits of offering logistics services to customers across the ArcBest enterprise of companies.”

According to the company, compared to strong revenue growth last year, Panther Premium Logistics had a moderate first quarter revenue increase due to 16% growth in shipments, primarily driven by new customers.

“Gross profit margins were impacted by demand softness and lower rates in the expedited market resulting from more readily available truckload capacity versus last year, and a shorter length of haul on new Panther business,” the company said. “The quarter's results were impacted by unfavorable experience in casualty claims and higher than expected healthcare costs, which in total increased Panther's operating costs versus the same period last year by $1.5 million.”