Not all carriers are riding high on the current trucking business environment. While a major less-than-truckload player turned a profit following a loss a year earlier, a major flatbed and specialized carrier trimmed its losses compared to a year ago, while a third-party logistics provider was barely in the black.

Daseke Trims Losses in Hot Flatbed Market

Daseke Inc., the holding company for more than a dozen flatbed and specialized trucking and logistics providers, released first quarter showing its trimmed it losses while it doubled revenue. Revenue rose 104% from the first quarter of 2017, totaling $327.6 million. This was due to gains of 78% in its flatbed revenue and a 129% jump in specialized revenue as the company acquired seven companies in 2017.

The Texas company saw its net loss improve significantly to $800,000, or 4 cents per share, from $7.7 million, or 32 cents per share a year earlier. The first quarter marked the company’s one year anniversary of being public.

“We began 2018 on a strong note, with 10% revenue growth in both our specialized and flatbed segments on an acquisition-adjusted basis,” said Don Daseke, chairman and CEO. “This was driven by favorable year-over-year rate increases in each segment, along with 11% growth in specialized revenue per truck due to increased revenue synergies in several key markets."

During Daseke’s fourth quarter 2017 earnings call, it introduced its 2018 outlook, expecting to grow revenue to approximately $1.35 billion compared to $846.3 million in 2017. While the company reported a strong first quarter, Daseke plans to update its full-year outlook on the second quarter conference call, which will reflect its latest acquisitions.

ArcBest Records $10 Million Profit

ArcBest Corp., the parent company to ABF Freight among others, moved from a loss in the first quarter of 2017 to a profit during the same time in 2018.

The primarily less-than-truckload company reported net income of $10 million, or 37 cents per share, compared to a first quarter 2017 net loss of $7.4 million, or 29 cents per share. Revenue also improved, totaling $700 million compared to $651.1 million a year earlier.

“Strong market demand for our supply chain solutions and purposeful yield management contributed to our positive first quarter results,” said Chairman, President and CEO Judy McReynolds.

The company’s asset-based segment reported revenue of $482.1 million compared to $464.4 million a year earlier, a per-day increase of 4.6%. In contrast, tonnage per day fell 3.7% as shipments per day dropped 9.4%.

Total billed revenue per hundredweight increased 8.9% and was positively affected by asset-based pricing initiatives and higher fuel surcharges, according to the company. Excluding fuel surcharge, the percentage increase on ArcBest’s asset-based LTL freight was in the high-single digits.

Operating income of $13.4 million and an operating ratio of 97.2% in the first quarter of 2018 compared to an operating loss of $8.3 million and an operating ratio of 101.8% a year earlier.

ArcBest’s asset-light segment had revenue of $229.7 million in the most recent quarter compared to $193.1 million a year earlier. Operating income increased to $4.7 million compared to operating income of $2.1 million.

“As expected, tighter capacity in first quarter resulted from the new electronic logging mandate and other factors, and general economic trends were favorable,” said McReynolds. “We expect these trends to continue in 2018.”

Radiant Logistics Profit Falls 50%

The third-party logistics and multimodal transportation services company Radiant Logistics Inc. reported that despite higher revenue in the first three months of the year, it barely managed to squeeze out a profit.

Net income was $200,000 for the first calendar quarter of the year, which was Radiant's fiscal third quarter. This compared to $400,000 a year earlier.

Revenues were $203.9 million, up 12.2% compared to revenues of $181.8 million from a year earlier. Net revenues improved 7.5% to 49.1 million.

"We experienced continued margin pressure, with our underlying asset-based carrier partners taking prices higher in this tight capacity market environment, but believe we are well-positioned to deliver sequential improvement over the next several quarters as we work to pass these increases on to our end customers while continuing to grow our overall shipment volumes,” said Bohn Crain, founder and CEO.

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