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Profit and revenue declined during the second quarter at Saia Inc. as the company dealt with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Johns Creek, Ga.-based less-than-truckload carrier said net income fell 23.2% to $28.5 million from $37.1 million in the same period a year earlier. Diluted earnings per share dipped to $1.07 from $1.40.
Revenue declined 9.9% to $418.1 million compared with $464.2 million a year earlier.
However, the carrier wasn’t far behind its financial performance for the first six months of last year, posting much smaller revenue and profit declines for the first half of 2020 than expected.
Given the challenges of the pandemic, CEO Fritz Holzgrefe told industry analysts on a July 29 conference call that he was pleased with Saia’s performance.
“The complexity of the COVID-19 impact on the supply chain and economy has varied by city, region and even by customer,” Holzgrefe said. “Freight patterns have changed in some cases on a daily basis as regions either reopened with restocking or imposed new restrictions and ultimately slowed down.”
He said Saia experienced a dramatic drop in shipment volume in mid-March that hit in mid-April. Shipment trends started to improve in May and June. Freight tonnage fell 12.9% in April, 8.8% in May and 5.7% in June. It is down only about 2% through most of July. Shipments plunged 16.2% in April but have rebounded over several months and are up almost 2% so far in July.
Saia shipping metrics were mixed during the quarter. LTL shipments per workday decreased by 9.7%, and tonnage per workday fell 8.9%. Saia’s LTL revenue per shipment rose 0.3% to $235 million. Operating income dropped 30.3% to $35 million, and its operating ratio rose to 91.5 compared to 89.0 in the same period a year earlier.
Business activity also was mixed across Saia’s network.
Chief Financial Officer Douglas Col said it was hard to predict the course of the economic rebound as business activity varied widely by industry and region. The economic reopening and accompanying increases in shipment weights were occurring “in fits and starts,” he said.
“Some customers are more confident in the plan to reopen, putting bigger shipments through the system while others are only seeing parts of their business come back,” Col said.
Holzgrefe said he was optimistic about the second half of the year as cost-cutting measures instituted at the start of the pandemic will continue to provide benefits. Additionally, freight pricing remains “rational.” The company is obtaining single-digit percentage increases in new contracts, he said.
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 LTL sector list.
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