Saia Reports Lower Q2 Profit, Revenue

Executives Say Business Picking Up, See ‘Unique’ LTL Opportunity
Saia truck crossing bridge
Saia saw a mixed bag compared with analyst expectations. The company beat the consensus EPS estimate of $3.25 per share but fell short of revenue expectations of $700.3 million, according to Zacks Equity Research. (Saia LTL Freight via Facebook)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

Saia Inc. posted net income of $91.3 million in the second quarter of 2023, compared with $109.2 million in the same period a year earlier, the less-than-truckload carrier said.

Johns Creek, Ga.-based Saia reported diluted earnings per share for the quarter of $3.42, compared with $4.10 in the second quarter of 2022.

The company reported operating revenue of $694.6 million in the quarter that ended June 30 compared with $745.6 million in the year-ago period.

Saia saw a mixed bag compared with analyst expectations. The company beat the consensus EPS estimate of $3.25 per share but fell short of revenue expectations of $700.3 million, according to Zacks Equity Research.

Saia ranks No. 21 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America and No. 9 on the less-than truckload list.

The company posted an operating ratio of 82.7 in the most recent quarter, compared with 80.4 in the year-ago period.


See more transportation stock listings

“It’s clear … the company is firing on all cylinders from an operating perspective and all but assures, in our view, a mid-70s [operating ratio] in the next upcycle (which is likely coming sooner than expected given issues at Yellow),” Deutsche Bank research analyst Amit Mehrotra said in a July 28 research note.

Operating ratio provides an insight on how a management team is doing when balancing the company’s costs and revenue generation. The lower the operating ratio, the better the company’s performance.

Saia’s LTL shipments per workday decreased 3.8% year-over-year to 30.78 in the most recent three months from 32 in the year-ago period.

The company’s LTL tonnage decreased 1.7% year-over-year to 1,421 in the most recent quarter from 1,446 in the second quarter of 2022. Saia’s LTL tonnage per workday decreased 1.7% to 22.2 in the most recent quarter from 22.6 in the year-ago period.

Saia’s LTL revenue per shipment, excluding fuel surcharge revenue, increased 4.8% to $287.90 in the quarter from $274.60 in the 2022 period. Saia’s fuel surcharge fell 32% year-over-year in the most recent quarter, CEO Fritz Holzgrefe said during the company’s July 28 earnings call.


How effective have third-party services proved to be for fleets? Let's find out with Michael Precia of Fleetworthy Solutions and Dan Rutherford with Summit Virtual CFO by Anders. Tune in above or by going to  

The company’s average length of haul fell 2% year-over-year to 892 miles from 910 a year earlier.

“Saia released solid second-quarter results despite the softer economic environment we faced compared to last year,” Holzgrefe said in a statement accompanying the earnings.

Volume declines moderated in each of the first two months of the second quarter but turned a corner in July due to industry dynamics changing over the past several weeks, the company’s top executive said.

During the call, Chief Financial Officer Douglas Col said that July shipments were up about 5% year-over-year, while tonnage had risen 2.5%. Starting in mid-June, Saia began seeing freight flowing to the network with newer customers, he added.

For comparison, said Col, June shipments fell 1.8% year-over-year, while June tonnage decreased 2.2% compared with the same month in 2022, illustrating the impact of the market disruption that culminated July 30 in LTL peer Yellow shutting its doors. Yellow ranks No. 3 among LTL carriers in North America.

“This is a unique opportunity, in a disruptive time, that we can show customers, this is what you get with Saia. And that’s differentiated high level of service,” Holzgrefe said.

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing above or go here for more info

“And we think that if we execute on that, well, we can hang on to this, or this kind of share will come to us over time,” he added.

Saia ended the most recent quarter with $235 million cash on hand and total debt of $21.4 million. Analysts noted Saia’s cash pile and the company’s terminal acquisition opportunities. Responding to an analyst question, Holzgrefe said the company could issue debt if it needed to — should a shopping spree require such a move.

Mehrotra said in his note that EPS and operating ratio in the second quarter beat expectations.

“But the numbers beneath the headline were even more encouraging,” the note said. “We note the company dropped over 60% of its sequential revenue growth to the bottom line. This is very impressive given the sequential fuel headwind and highlights the positive impact the company’s network expansion is having, in our view, together with strong management execution.”

Saia has opened five new terminals since the start of the year.