One of the nation’s largest third-party logistics providers, C.H. Robinson grew its first quarter profit and revenue by double digits – and less-than-truckload carrier Saia reported growth by larger margins.

C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. reported net income of $142.3 million, up 16.6% from a year ago, as earnings per share hit $1.01, a 17.4% gain. Total revenue moved up 14.9% to $3.9 billion. The company said the growth in total revenue was across all of its service lines.

First quarter total revenues for C.H. Robinson's North American surface transportation  segment (which makes up more than half its business) totaled $2.7 billion, an increase of 17.9% over the prior year, driven by increased pricing, according to the company.

The company reported total NAST net revenues increased 11.4% in the quarter to $414.8 million. Net revenues in truckload increased 10.1%, driven by higher pricing. Less-than-truckload net revenues increased 14.8% due to higher pricing and volumes. However, intermodal net revenues fell 13.8%, driven by increased accessorial and dray costs. NAST income from operations increased 11.7% to $174.1 million.

First quarter total revenues for the global forwarding segment increased 18.1% to $553.8 million, as net revenues increased 15.5% in the quarter to $123 million. Despite this, income from operations dropped 49.3% to $8.2 million. This was due to a 21.4% increase in average headcount, including investments to build scale in air freight, and technology investments across all service lines, according to the company.

“We expect demand to remain high as the benefits of U.S. tax reform strengthen a growing economy,” said John Wiehoff, chairman and CEO. “Given the driver shortage and electronic logging device mandate, we also expect industry capacity to remain tight. With these dynamics in place, we believe the current freight market fundamentals will continue throughout 2018.”

Saia Reports Record Operating Income

Saia Inc. net income improved 85% to $21.1 million, as the LTL said it benefitted from a lower effective income tax rate as well as fuel tax credits. Revenue for the quarter was $393 million, a 22% increase from a year earlier. Earnings per share increased to 80 cents from 44 cents a year earlier.

In the first quarter, LTL shipments and tonnage rose 8.4% and 12.2%, respectively, while LTL revenue per hundredweight increased 7.7%. Saia’s operating ratio improved by 160 basis points to 93.0%, as operating income rose 57% to a record $27.6 million.

“During the quarter we opened two new terminals and put hundreds of new tractors and trailers into service across our network," said Saia President and CEO Rick O’Dell. “The rate environment remains constructive, and our contractual renewals in the quarter saw an average increase of 7.6%.”

Over the past year Saia has opened eight new terminals, O’Dell said, all but one in markets where the fleet previously had not offered direct service.

“Our customers are embracing the better geographic coverage as we continue to extend Saia’s service capabilities,” he said.