J.B. Hunt Transportation Services turned in first-quarter earnings of $73.3 million, a year-over-year increase of more than $5 million.
Operating revenue during the quarter increased from $1.17 billion in 2012 to $1.29 billion. Dedicated contract services were up by 9 percent, intermodal revenue grew by 15, and integrated capacity solutions saw a 26-percent revenue rise. Truck segment revenue declined because of a fleet reduction, ending the quarter down by 21 percent.
On the intermodal side of the business, revenue rose due to tighter capacity in the truck market, an uptick in volume and a higher revenue per load, according to a company statement. Demand pushed load growth up 13 percent, year over year. The eastern network, which increased by 19 percent, outpaced transcontinental activity, which rose by 10 percent, year over year. Operating costs, however, were up by 22 percent, with increased maintenance and dray costs making a dent in results.
DCS saw operating revenue decline by 22 percent due to maintenance, but productivity and other factors lead to a significant increase in revenue. ICS experienced a 47-percent rise in load volume even as the segment’s profit margin fell 1.3 points, year over year.
JBT’s truck segment saw lower fuel costs, an increase in rates per loaded mile and lower claims costs offset by increased maintenance costs, increased pay and fewer equipment-sale gains. Rate per loaded mile went up 3.8 percent, but haul lengths went down an average of 9.8 percent. The truck fleet shrunk by 21 percent, year over yeas, a drop in tractor count of 550 units. - Jon Ross