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January 16, 2007 12:30 PM, EST

Arkansas-Based Trucking Firms Push Forward With Growth Plans

J.B. Hunt Purchasing More Intermodal Containers
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Three large Arkansas-based trucking companies have pushed ahead with plans to expand despite warnings signs of a slowdown in the trucking industry this year, the Northwest Arkansas Morning News reported.Truckload carrier J.B. Hunt Transport Services recently bought several thousand new domestic containers for its intermodal segment and picked up a $100 million in new business for its dedicated contract services, the paper said, citing a recent report by analyst John Larkin of Stifel Nicolaus.USA Truck opened a new regional operations center in the Southeast, and ABF Freight System has expanded its regional transportation network into Central and Southern states, the paper said.Neither truckload carrier USA Truck nor less-than-truckload carrier ABF are letting softening freight demand keep them from launching growth plans, the newspaper reported.J.B. Hunt recently purchased several thousand new domestic containers from China at a 40% discount to add to its growing intermodal segment, the Morning News said.The company already owns the nation's largest fleet of containers and its intermodal segment is benefiting from improved pricing and load growth, the paper said. The company expects an anticipated revenue increase of 12.4%, fueled by a 7% price hike, according to an industry report by Stephens Inc., the paper said.J.B. Hunt is ranked No. 10 on the Transport Topics 100 listing of U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers. ABF is a unit of Arkansas Best Corp., ranked No. 17, and USA Truck is ranked No. 55.