• ITVI.USA
    13,820.510
    57.700
    0.4%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.320
    0.700
    3.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,799.390
    60.030
    0.4%
  • TLT.USA
    2.640
    -0.010
    -0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.480
    0.060
    2.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.190
    0.050
    2.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.400
    0.180
    14.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.730
    0.160
    6.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.440
    0.040
    2.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.870
    -0.010
    -0.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    108.000
    5.000
    4.9%
  • ITVI.USA
    13,820.510
    57.700
    0.4%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.320
    0.700
    3.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,799.390
    60.030
    0.4%
  • TLT.USA
    2.640
    -0.010
    -0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.480
    0.060
    2.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.190
    0.050
    2.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.400
    0.180
    14.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.730
    0.160
    6.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.440
    0.040
    2.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.870
    -0.010
    -0.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    108.000
    5.000
    4.9%
BusinessCompany earningsFinanceNewsTruckload

Marten rides dedicated division to a strong quarter

Marten Transport has reported a strong second quarter, with a significant operating ratio increase in both its dedicated and truckload segments.  

The improvement in OR for the company overall was 250 basis points to 88.1% from 90.6%. The gains in the company’s truckload and dedicated divisions were offset in part by deterioration in the company’s intermodal and brokerage divisions. The truckload OR was up to 88.3% from 91.6%, or 330 basis points, while dedicated rose to 84.8% from 88.5%, 270 basis points.

Overall, the company’s operating revenue in the quarter was essentially flat, rising just 0.1% to $85.96 million. Marten’s gain in operating revenue came mostly out of its dedicated division, where operating revenue net of fuel rose 19.4% to $67 million. Meanwhile, operating revenue in the truckload division net of fuel rose to $85.96 million, up from $83.21 million, a gain of 3.3%.   

The bottom line at the company was operating income of $25.25 million, up from $19.9 million in the second quarter of 2019. Net income was up to $18.13 million from $15.19 million.

There has been a significant focus for all companies, not just trucking, on liquidity. Marten appears to be in strong shape on that front. It ended the quarter with $75.3 million in cash, up from $31.46 million at the end of last year.

Marten does not have a call with investors to discuss its earnings.

Stock split, dividend maintenance means a 50% effective jump in payout

Marten also announced that it was splitting its stock 3-for-2. It is holding its dividend payout at 4 cents per share per quarter, and Marten described the combination of the split and the maintenance of the dividend as effectively a 50% increase in the dividend payout.

Among the operating highlights in the Marten release:

— Marten saw an increase in salaries, wages and benefits to $73.47 million from $68.61 million, a gain of 7%. However, it kept purchased transportation in check, declining to $36.1 million from $38.66 million. Total operating expenses dropped to $187.1 million from $192.1 million, a decline that was less than the roughly $10 million drop it saw in its fuel expenses.

— Dedicated has been a strong division for Marten in recent quarters. The operating income of the group rose to $11.45 million from $7.7 million a year ago, an increase of 48.7%. Operating revenue for the group rose to $67 million, an increase of 19.4%, net of fuel revenue. To illustrate how much the dedicated group has grown in prominence in the company, in the third quarter of 2018, which included a once-in-a-lifetime freight market, dedicated revenue (net of fuel) was 60% of the revenue of the truckload division. In the second quarter of this year, it was 78%. The dedicated segment saw its miles driven jump to 33.174 million from 27.198 million, an increase of almost 22%. That helped offset the average revenue per tractor per week dropping to $3,314 from $3,460.

— Truckload revenue edged down to $94.2 million from $96 million. Average revenue per tractor per week was down to $3,829 from $3,876. Nonrevenue miles percentage declined to 10.9% from 11.1%, and total miles driven rose to 42.83 million from 39 million.  

— Brokerage revenue fell by roughly $6 million, to $22.456 million from $28.455 million, a drop of 21%. Loads plunged to 15,280 from 16,185.

More articles by John Kingston

Heartland Express numbers for the second quarter beat projections

Marten’s dedicated division keeps company steady overall in third quarter

Truckload down, dedicated up in Marten’s fourth quarter

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.

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