Like many of its peers, P.A.M. Transportation posted a major quarterly loss for a variety of factors plaguing the trucking industry.
The Tontitown-based trucking firm posted a $1.98 million loss on revenue of $85 million. One year ago, P.A.M. posted a $315,444 loss on quarterly revenue of $81.8 million.
Officials blamed poor winter weather, high gas prices, regulatory pressures and competition for qualified drivers as reasons for the weak quarterly performance.
"I have very mixed emotions regarding our results from the first quarter 2011," said P.A.M. President Daniel Cushman. "On one hand, we have made great progress in key strategic areas, while on the other hand, expenses have increased and more than offset our successes during the quarter."
P.A.M. had turned a corner in 2010 with two consecutive profitable quarters before ending the fourth quarter with a $1.1 million loss. That led to a full year net loss of $654,000. In 2009, the trucking firm lost $10.8 million.
On the bright side, P.A.M. pointed to its Mexican operations, which Cushman said was "strong." He also pointed to other internal improvements made by the company as it struggles to rebound from the recession-wracked economy.
"While we lost some ground in our efforts to improve earnings year over year for the first quarter, many of our expense increases were investments necessary to position ourselves favorably in a market currently characterized by a decreasing capacity of qualified drivers, increased regulation and operational costs. We continue to focus on revenue and margin improvement by adding new customers, improving freight mix, increasing our rate per mile and equipment utilization," Cushman said.
P.A.M. Transportation is one of four publicly traded trucking firms headquartered in Arkansas. Van Buren-based USA Truck and Fort Smith-based Arkansas Best both posted quarterly losses. Lowell-based J.B. Hunt was profitable during its first quarter of 2011.