J.B. Hunt Transport Services’ (NASDAQ: JBHT) first quarter was much better than feared. The company reported earnings per share of $1.14, 9 cents per share lower than the year-ago result but well ahead of the 83-cent consensus estimate.
Total revenue declined 5% year-over-year at $2.15 billion but was only off 0.5% excluding fuel surcharge revenue.
Operating income of $175.2 million was down 9.3% year-over-year. The company cited higher purchased transportation costs, technology investments and increased operating costs from COVID-19 as some of the headwinds. A total of $4.6 million of “uncollectible customer accounts” resulted in increased charges during the period as well.
Intermodal revenue was 7.4% lower year-over-year as loads were off 1.5% and revenue per load declined 5.9%. Revenue per load excluding fuel was flat year-over-year.
Dedicated revenue was off only 0.7% year-over-year at $533 million. Loads improved nearly 7% in the period with revenue per truck per week declining 3.4%. This was better than the expectation for flat loads sequentially, which implied a year-over-year decline. Further, the division’s operating ratio was 140 basis points better year-over-year at 84.4%.
Brokerage and final mile recorded losses in the period. The truck division reported a more than 17% year-over-year increase in loads with revenue per truck per week backing up somewhat. Revenue per loaded mile excluding fuel surcharges declined 7% from the year-ago period, and contractual rates were down approximately 5%.
The company hosts a conference call Thursday evening and FreightWaves plans to provide commentary from the call in a later article.
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