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story.lead_photo.caption Graphs showing USA Truck Inc. Second quarter information

USA Truck Inc. said Thursday that its second-quarter profit climbed to $2.5 million after posting a net loss of $2.8 million a year ago.

The Van Buren trucking company's earnings per share were 31 cents for the quarter that ended June 30 compared with a 35-cent loss per share for the same quarter in 2017.

Total revenue for the period, including fuel surcharges, increased to $135.4 million compared with $107.4 million posted for the year-ago period. Excluding fuel surcharges, the company had revenue of $119.1 million for fiscal 2018's second quarter.

In Thursday's earnings report, James Reed, USA Truck's president and chief executive officer, said the company delivered solid results for its fourth-consecutive quarter and attributed the progress to "our most critical metric, revenue per truck per week."

Revenue from the company's trucking segment rose 19.6 percent to $85.6 million in the second quarter, up from last year's $71.5 million. USA Truck said this growth came from a 21.7 percent increase in base revenue per loaded mile.

Meanwhile, revenue from the company's logistics segment -- USAT Logistics -- soared to $50.6 million, up 37 percent from $36.9 million a year ago.

"We remain focused on seating trucks, improving base revenue per available tractor per week and increasing volume in our USAT Logistics segment," Reed wrote in the report. "We believe increased performance in these areas will continue to deliver on our goals of continued improvement in our consolidated results and maximizing shareholder value."

The company faced increased labor and freight costs year over year. This comes at a time when the U.S. trucking industry must balance increased truckload shipments with capacity shortfalls. Bob Costello, chief economist of the American Trucking Associations, said in June that average driver turnover rates rose "not as a measure of the driver shortage, but rather of demand for drivers."

"We know that as freight demand continues to rise, demand for drivers to move those goods will also rise, which often results in more driver churn or turnover," Costello said in a statement. "Finding enough qualified drivers remains a tremendous challenge for the trucking industry and one that if not solved will threaten the entire supply chain."

USA Truck's operating income increased 15 percent year over year, but it was down $700,000, or 24.4 percent compared, with the first quarter. The company said it took on higher transportation costs to maintain its contractual freight agreements, instead of pursuing spot market transactions.

"We believe building a strategic partnership with our core customers will enable USAT Logistics to grow volume and market share over the long term," the report said.

According to DAT Solutions, a group that tracks freight data, rates for spot market transactions matched longer-term contract rates for van carriers in June, as spot refrigerated and flatbed rates exceeded contract rate averages.

USA Truck released its earnings report after the stock market closed Thursday. The shares fell 81 cents to close at $20.75. Shares have traded as high as $29.15 in the past 52 weeks and as low as $7.98.

The company plans to hold a conference call at 8 a.m. today to discuss its latest earnings results. The call can be accessed by dialing (844) 824-3828 or by visiting the company's investor relations website, investor.usa-truck.com, for a live webcast of the call.

Business on 07/27/2018

Print Headline: USA Truck rolls to 2Q profit

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