The first quarter 2018 earnings reporting season for trucking began on Monday as J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. said its profit moved higher compared to the same time a year ago.

Net income totaled $118.1 million, or $1.07 per share, versus $102.7 million, or 92 cents per share, a year earlier. The latest per share performance was 2 cents less than an expected consensus estimate from Zacks Investment Research.

Total revenue moved 20% higher to $1.95 billion while revenue minus fuel surcharges rose 17% to $1.71 billion.

Intermodal load growth was 6% and revenue per load, excluding fuel surcharges, increased approximately 4% over first quarter 2017 levels, according to the company.

Its dedicated segment saw revenue increase by 26% from a year earlier ,primarily from additional customer contracts. Brokerage load growth was 6% and revenue per load increased approximately 34% over the same period in 2017.

The company’s truck segment revenue decreased 1% primarily from fewer seated trucks compared to a year ago as its seated truck count fell to 1,926 at the end of the quarter, down from 2,144 a year earlier.

Operating income for the first quarter of 2018 totaled $169 million compared $149 million for the first quarter 2017. The company said this was due to benefits from volume growth, higher customer rates, new customer contracts, and continuing vibrant spot pricing market.

However, the increase in operating income was partially offset by several factors, including increased purchased transportation costs; lower intermodal network utilization; lower productivity in winter weather affected regions; higher driver and non-driver salaries, wages and benefits; increased final mile services network facilities costs; higher maintenance costs on equipment scheduled to be traded in 2018; increased technology spending on legacy system upgrades; continuing branch network expansion; increased equipment ownership costs, and increased insurance and claims costs. 

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