Universal Logistics Holdings reported its best third quarter ever, following a trend of record-setting financial reports by freight carriers this year.
The Warren, Mich.-based company said net income was $15.1 million, or 53 cents a share, in the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with a net loss of $3.3 million, or 12 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue climbed 19.6% to $374.3 million in the third quarter of 2018 from $313 million in 2017.
Universal provides a range of transportation and logistics services, including dry van and flatbed truckload, intermodal and freight brokerage, plus dedicated contract carriage and warehousing and distribution.
Truckload revenue declined 3.1% to $80.2 million in the third quarter from $82.8 million a year ago, reflecting a 7.4% drop in the number of loads, shorter average length of hauls and fewer tractors. Average revenue per load did increase, however, to $984 in the most recent period from $898 a year ago.
Brokerage revenue grew 34.8% to $98.8 million in the third quarter from $73.3 million a year ago as the number of loads increased and freight rates rose.
Intermodal revenue increased 68.2% to $65.7 million in the third quarter from $39.1 million a year ago, reflecting the impact of acquisitions, including drayage firms Fore Transportation and Southern Counties Express, plus increased load volume and higher rates. Universal acquired another drayage firm, Specialized Rail Service, in October.
Dedicated service revenue increased almost 40% in the third quarter, to $30.9 million from $22.1 million a year ago. The company moved more loads at higher rates but also saw the average length of haul drop. The average number of tractors in the dedicated segment dropped to 696 in the most recent quarter from 813 a year ago.
Revenue from value-added services, which includes warehousing and distribution, rose 3.1% to $98.6 million in the third quarter from $95.7 million a year ago.
“We have so much to be excited about at Universal,” CEO Jeff Rogers said in a statement Oct. 25. “We have great momentum, an excellent transportation environment, and we have no intention of taking our foot off the gas.”
Universal ranks No. 31 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of largest for-hire carriers in North America and No. 27 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of largest logistics companies in North America.