USA Truck turned its finances around in the first three months of the year, reporting a profitable first quarter for the first time since 2007.
Net income totaled $1.1 million, or 11 cents per diluted share, compared to a loss of $1.6 million, or 15 cents per diluted share a year earlier for the Arkansas-based trucking and logistics provider.
Total revenue fell to $132.9 million from $145.5 million while total base revenue decreased 1.8% to $115.5 million.
“This quarter’s results reflect positive contributions from both our trucking segment and our SCS segment, once again demonstrating the benefits of USA Truck’s integrated service offerings,” said Interim Chief Operating Officer Thomas Glaser.
Base revenue in USA’s trucking operation rose 1.7% year-over-year to $81.5 million while operating expenses adjusted for fuel surcharge decreased $5.4 million, or 6.3%.
“These changes reflected a strong freight environment, lower diesel fuel prices, and several company-specific initiatives, including fuel efficiency measures which produced a 4.8% improvement in miles-per-gallon, our improving preventative maintenance program, and variable expense reductions,” said Glaser. “As a result, trucking’s adjusted operating ratio improved to 99.2%, an 840-basis-point improvement over last year’s first quarter.”
Weekly revenue per seated truck exceeded $3,000 for the fifth consecutive quarter and grew 5.4% year-over-year on the strength of an 8.1% increase in rate per loaded mile, partially offset by lower miles per tractor and increased deadhead percentage attributable to a change in mix of service offerings, according to USA Truck.
“Overall freight volume for the quarter was impacted by a lower seated truck count, reflecting the ongoing industry driver shortage. To support asset utilization during the quarter, we accelerated plans to dispose of older tractors,” said Glaser. “Additionally, we expect to implement a significant increase in driver pay on June 1st. Our plan is to increase our seated tractor count for the year while covering the higher compensation costs through yield management, continued operating cost savings and cost efficiency gains, as well as increased base revenue.”
USA’s freight brokerage, Strategic Capacity Solutions, reported load volumes and gross margins remained relatively steady, while revenue was impacted by the softer spot market during the first quarter of 2015, compared to the strong spot market created by the harsh winter weather in 2014.