ArcBest Corp., the parent of less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier ABF Freight System, today posted gains in second-quarter revenue and income for its asset- and asset-light businesses, becoming the latest carrier to cite a rebounding U.S. economy for the positive numbers.
Revenue in the quarter rose to $720 million, from $676 million in the year-earlier period, with operating income up $8 million, to $24.7 million. The asset-based business, by far ArcBest's largest unit, reported a 6.7-percent increase in revenue and a $5 million gain in operating income over the same period in 2016. Daily shipment count rose 4.4 percent, while tonnage nudged up 0.1 percent. Revenue for each 100 pounds shipped, a key measure of yield and profitability, rose 6.1 percent, driven by a more favorable shipment mix and the impact of higher fuel surcharges.
Bullish pricing trends enabled the asset-based unit to shed less profitable business, which accounted for the flat year-over-year tonnage results, the Fort Smith, Ark.-based company said.
The asset-light unit posted revenue of $212.5 million, compared to $196.1 million in the year-earlier quarter. Operating income rose to $6.5 million, compared to $2.8 million in the 2016 quarter.
"The improvement in the 2017 operating environment that we expected to see has materialized," Judy R. McReynolds, ArcBest's chairman, president, and CEO, said in a statement. McReynolds said that "favorable trends" in economic indicators are "expected to positively impact the freight environment going forward."
Yesterday, Atlanta-based UPS Inc. and Thomasville, N.C.-based LTL carrier Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. posted strong second-quarter results in part due to strong economic and freight demand.