Friday, January 27, 2012

J.B. Hunt Intermodal earnings rise

Written by  Luther S. Miller, Senior Consulting Editor

J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. reported late Thursday that fourth quarter 2011 Intermodal Segment revenue increased 24% to $729 million, and operating income grew 20% to $83.9 million.

Load volume increased 17% during the quarter, compared with 13% growth in the year earlier quarter. Overall revenue grew 24% as a result of volume growth, fuel surcharge increases, and a 4.6% increase in rates.

"Peak season volumes were slightly less than anticipated; the demand for conversion from highway to rail continued to be strong," said the company. "Cost increases in both rail and dray purchased transportation, container cost, and fuel were offset with customer price increases, fuel surcharges, and a lower percentage of empty repositioning moves. The current period ended with more than 54,500 units of trailing capacity."

On a corporate basis, operating income for the quarter increased to $122 million vs. $97 million for the fourth quarter 2010. Net earnings rose 25% to $72.6 million from $57.9 million in 2010.

“We are very pleased to close out the year with record revenues, net earnings and earnings per share in both the fourth quarter and the entire year of 2011," said John N. Roberts, JBHT President and CEO.

'All four segments improved from 2010 in the fourth quarter and full year. During 2011, we began implementing improvements to the approach we take with our larger, more complex customers and we are satisfied so far with the results of these efforts. The primary objective in collaborating with customers is to find new ways to integrate our complementary business segments to drive out cost and create efficiency. We will continue to invest in customer centric services that produce sufficient rates of return and sustainable cycles of cash for further reinvestment and innovation in transportation."