Trailer Bridge narrows losses
U.S. mainland/Puerto Rico carrier Trailer Bridge moved closer to break-even in the third quarter, with a 17-percent jump in revenue, higher vessel utilization and a net loss of about $860,000, as compared to a deficit of $2.3 million in the same quarter of 2002.
Revenue increased to $21.6 million in the latest quarter, from $18.5 million a year ago. The company posted an operating loss of about $150,000, as compared to a deficit of $1.9 million in the year-earlier period.
Having endured years of losses, Trailer Bridge said that its latest volume levels and rate trends “continue to show marked improvement.” It did not predict when it would move back into the black.
The carrier has experienced a significant increase in volume and revenue since early March. Total southbound volume in the third quarter increased 18 percent when compared to the year-earlier period, and total northbound volume rose 15 percent.
The yield on southbound cargo to Puerto Rico dropped 0.5 percent from the year-earlier period, but yield on northbound shipments rose 8 percent.
Capacity utilization for Trailer Bridge's Jacksonville-San Juan service increased to 93 percent southbound and 25 percent northbound in the latest quarter, from 79 percent and 23 percent a year ago, respectively.
Trailer Bridge said that its third-quarter operating loss included an 18-percent increase in fuel costs compared to the prior-year period, as well as a 17.5-percent rise in other purchased transportation expenses.
“We reported significant year-over-year improvement in the third quarter and are particularly encouraged by the pricing levels and trends evident in the fourth quarter,” said John D. McCown, chairman and chief executive officer of Trailer Bridge.
In October, his company obtained its best monthly performance in six years, he added.
However, Trailer Bridge reported that its current liabilities of $28.6 million, including $13.9 million in obligations due in early 2004, exceed the company's current assets of $13.6 million.
Trailer Bridge said that it is “currently in negotiations with various financial institutions to refinance its existing term loan and revolving credit facility” and that it is current with all of its debt obligations, including the Title XI debt.
For the first nine months of 2003, Trailer Bridge reported a net loss of $4 million, as compared to a deficit of $4.7 million in the same period of 2002.