Financials improve for P.A.M. Transportation

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 138 views 

Tontitown-based P.A.M. Transportation Services Inc. posted positive numbers for the first quarter of 2012, a good start for a company that has seen income losses in the previous three years.

The trucking company reported first quarter net income of $674,193, a clear improvement compared to the $1.978 million income loss during the first quarter of 2011.

Total first quarter revenue was $96.155 million, up more than 13% compared to the $85.026 million in the 2011 period.

Continuing to recover from a national freight recession that began in late 2006, P.A.M. posted a 2011 loss of $2.857 million, a 2010 loss of $655,000 and a 2009 loss of $10.8 million.

"We are very pleased to report positive earnings for the first quarter of 2012, and view our quarter as additional validation that the initiatives that have been put in place over the last several quarters are continuing to mature and positively impact both top line revenue growth and cost control,” P.A.M. President Daniel Cushman said in the statement.

The company also reported a 2.4% increase in the revenue rate per total mile and a 4.9% increase in equipment. A reduction in the average age of the P.A.M. truck fleet from 3.28 to 2.43 years (lower maintenance costs and less severe weather in the first quarter 2012 than in the first quarter 2011, also helped boost operating income to $1.086 million.

The first quarter 2012 operating ratio — a key metric of performance in the trucking industry — was 98.67%, meaning it cost the company 98.67 cents for every dollar of revenue. The ratio during the 2011 quarter was 106.12%.

Helping drive the operating ratio lower was the company’s ability to generate more revenue with fewer trucks. During the first quarter of 2012, the company averaged 1,651 trucks with per truck/per day revenue of $613, compared to 1,722 trucks and per truck/per day revenue of $571 during the first quarter 2011.

“Our continued investment in new equipment to replace older higher mileage equipment has reduced our operating costs in the areas of maintenance, driver recruiting and retention, repair related layovers, and has helped greatly in diminishing the effects of increases in fuel prices which averaged $.35 cents higher during the first quarter 2012 than during the first quarter of 2011,” Cushman advised.

In addition to higher fuel prices, the company said recruiting and retaining drivers will also be a challenge in future quarters.

“While we do see competition for qualified drivers becoming more intense, we have been able to increase our number of driving employees by 3.5% from the first quarter 2011 to the first quarter of 2012 and have more than tripled the number of independent contractors during the same period,” the company noted in the earnings report. “We are more aware than ever of the value of our driving employees, and have identified a multitude of opportunities over the last year that we believe will enhance our ability to attract and retain drivers in an ever challenging driver market.

P.A.M. shares (NASDAQ: PTSI) were trading higher at around $11 in late Wednesday afternoon (April 25) trading. During the past 52 weeks, the share price has ranged from an $12.58 low to a $9.03 low.