Saia Posts Record Revenue in Q3

Saia truck
Johns Creek, Ga.-based Saia expects to have 176 terminals open by the end of this year, up from 169 at the end of 2020. (Saia LTL Freight via Facebook)

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Strong freight demand helped Saia Inc. report record third-quarter revenue, profits and operating ratio.

The Johns Creek, Ga.-based less-than-truckload carrier said net income rose 91.9% to $79.7 million, or $2.98 a diluted share, for the three months ending Sept. 30. That compared with $41.5 million, $1.56, during the same period a year earlier. The results included a $4.3 million gain from the sale of a terminal during the quarter.

Revenue increased 28%, to $616.2 from $481.4 million.

CEO Fritz Holzgrefe


The company’s operating ratio — the percentage expenses represent of revenue — improved to 83.5 from 88.5.

“The quarter was marked by consistent levels of demands from our shipper customers as we’ve all worked through the supply challenges and tight labor markets that persist,” CEO Fritz Holzgrefe said in an Oct. 28 conference call with investors.

Higher pricing, longer hauls and bigger shipments contributed to Saia’s improved results.

The company’s length of haul was up 2.5% over the prior year, weight per shipment rose 8.6%, and revenue per shipment grew nearly 25%, said CFO Douglas Col.


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“Our focus is on making sure we got the right mix of business,” Holzgrefe said. “So that’s targeting parts of the available market that we feel like we can handle the best and that we can generate the best returns, so you see that with our mix of business trends.”

The West Coast and Texas represented Saia’s strongest markets during the quarter.

In other financial metrics, Saia’s operating income after adjusting for the terminal sale rose 84.5% to $101.9 million from the same quarter a year earlier. Less-than-truckload shipments per workday increased 2.3%, less-than-truckload tonnage per workday grew 11%, and less-than-truckload revenue per hundredweight increased 14.9%.


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Saia continues to expand its network. The carrier opened a terminal in Fredericksburg, Va., in Q3 and opened terminals in Youngstown, Ohio, and New Haven, Conn., in October.

“We have plans to open two additional terminals by year end, and our plans to open 10 to 15 new terminals in 2022 are well underway,” Holzgrefe said.

Saia expects to have 176 terminals open by the end of this year, up from 169 at the end of 2020.

It is part of a strategy of moving closer to customers and improving service, he said.

“It also supports further pricing and differentiated service versus our competition,” Holzgrefe added.

Saia ranks No. 20 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

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