Inside SAIA’s LTL Operating Metrics during 2Q17


Jun. 30 2017, Updated 7:38 a.m. ET

SAIA’s LTL operating metrics

SAIA Inc. (SAIA) is among the major LTL (less than truckload) carriers in the United States. According to data released by the company, the LTL shipments per workday rose 5.4% in April 2017. The company’s LTL tonnage per workday rose 4.1% during April 2016. 

The company made an adjustment for the shift in the Good Friday timing in 2017. After such adjustment, the LTL shipments per workday rose 7.7% and LTL tonnage per workday grew 6.5% in April 2017 on a YoY (year-over-year) basis.

SAIA reported an 8.4% rise in LTL shipments per workday in May 2017. The company’s LTL tonnage per workday also rose 7.5% compared to May 2016. 

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YRC Worldwide’s 2Q17 LTL metrics

YRC Worldwide operates through two segments: YRC Freight and Regional Transportation. The company has LTL networks spread all over North America. 

YRC Freight’s April 2017 tonnage per day grew nearly 6.2% on a year-over-year basis. The segment’s May 2017 tonnage per day also rose roughly 3.3% compared with May 2016. The revenue per hundredweight in 2Q17 through May, excluding the fuel surcharge, grew 0.3%.

YRCW’s Regional segment reported 1.4% rise in LTL tonnage per day in April 2017 compared with April last year. Its May 2017 LTL tonnage per day grew ~5.5% compared to May 2016. However, the revenue per hundredweight in 2Q17 through May, excluding the fuel surcharge, slumped slightly.

LTL market

The above data hints that the overall LTL market (ODFL) is growing in 2017. Even parcel delivery majors such as FedEx (FDX) and United Parcel Service (UPS) have displayed a rise in the main LTL operating parameters in their latest reported quarter. The main factor behind the improved LTL market is the rise in e-commerce activity across the US.

Investors wishing to indirectly hold transportation and logistics stocks can consider the First Trust Industrials/Producer Durables AlphaDEX ETF (FXR).

In the next part, we’ll look at the major trucking companies’ returns in 2017 year-to-date.


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