Trailer Bridge reports 2nd quarter profit
Trailer Bridge Inc., which operates a container-on-barge service between Florida and Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, reported second quarter net income of $656,693, compared to a net loss of $329,261 in the same 2008 quarter.
The company reported revenue of $27.9 million during the quarter, down 17.7 percent from the same prior year period.
'Our second quarter results were highlighted by a return to profitability, despite the continuation of softened market conditions in our core southbound Puerto Rico lane,' said Ralph W. Heim, the company’s interim chief executive officer. 'We saw improved vessel charter hire revenue on our vessels not currently in liner service, growth in Dominican Republic volumes and increased Puerto Rico northbound volume.
“We feel that significant improvements in areas other than our core southbound Puerto Rico trade lane are an example of our operational leverage, the flexibility of our system, and the strength of our management team and employees. During the second quarter, increased revenues from our other lanes, combined with vigorous management of costs, led to improved operating performance. Ongoing efforts to build core volume have also resulted in recently improved southbound capacity utilization”
The company said revenue from its Dominican Republic service was $2.5 million in the quarter, up 56 percent from $1.6 million in the prior year period.
Trailer Bridge provides a integrated trucking and marine freight service to and from all points in the lower 48 states and Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic.
The company said it spent $395,609 in the second quarter and $692,387 in the first half of the year on legal expenses related to a government antitrust investigation that the government has been conducting of the domestic “Jones Act” trade. While five executives from competitors Horizon Lines and Sea Star have been given prison sentences and fined for what the U.S. Justice Department described as an antitrust conspiracy involving goods moving between the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico, no one has been charged at Trailer Bridge.
But the government investigation helped spark class action lawsuits by shippers against all three companies as well as Crowley, which also offers container service between Florida and Puerto Rico. Horizon announced in June it reached settlement with plaintiffs in those suits by agreeing to place $20 million into an escrow account and freeze certain base rates.