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Saia Inc. experienced a 112% year-over-year increase in total earnings for the first quarter, the company reported May 2.
The Johns Creek, Ga.-based less-than-truckload carrier posted net income of $79.4 million, or $2.98 a diluted share, for the three months ending March 31. That compared with $37.3 million, $1.40, during the 2021 period. Total revenue grew by 36.6% to a record $661.2 million from $484.1 million.
“We continue to execute our business plan at a very high level,” Saia President Fritz Holzgrefe said during a conference call with investors. “Operational execution was a highlight in the quarter, and our team did a nice job of managing around winter storm activity to minimize network disruptions. Our ability to quickly bounce back after weather-related closures puts us in a position to respond quickly to our customers’ needs.”
Saia has been expanding its footprint, opening two new terminals this year. In March it opened its fifth terminal in Illinois, and on April 25 it opened a new terminal near Parkersburg, W.Va. Holzgrefe said more are on the horizon.
“I’m excited about all of the new openings and relocations ahead of us this year, and the groundwork so far to keep us on track,” Holzgrefe said. “The March opening in La Salle provides coverage for the Chicago and Northern Illinois freight market. We’ll supplement this opening with a new location later this quarter in Rockford.”
Holzgrefe expects to invest over half a billion dollars this year in real estate, equipment and technology. He noted new equipment arrivals have generally been on schedule, but he is monitoring deliveries daily.
The company is also focused on recruiting talent, he said.
“To support the pace of these openings our human resources group is continuously recruiting and onboarding the talent that is required to open and operate these terminals,” Holzgrefe said. “Along with expanding our driver academy program this year, we have partnered with driver schools and technical colleges in some markets to increase our candidate pipeline and to serve as a feeder program for our driver academy.”
The company’s Q1 results surpassed expectations by investment analysts on Wall Street, which had been looking for $2.70 per share and quarterly revenue of $632.67 million, according to Zacks Consensus Estimate.
Saia noted that its operating ratio improved to 84.4 from 89.9 year-over-year. Operating ratio shows how efficient management is at keeping costs low while generating revenue. The smaller the ratio, the more efficient the company is.
Less-than-truckload shipments increased 7.4% during Q1 to 1.96 million from 1.83 million during the same time last year. Revenue per shipment increased 25.7% to $329.30 from $261.96. Length of haul increased 1.2% to an average of 915 miles from 904 miles.
The report showed salaries, wages and benefits were the largest expense, having increased 18.4% to $289.5 million from $244.4 million. That was followed by fuel, operating expenses and supplies, which increased 44.6% to $122.8 million from $84.9 million. Purchased transportation increased 73.8% to $78.2 million from $45 million.
Saia ranks No. 20 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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