Savannah, GA,
04:12 PM

Trucking Delivers Sales

U.S. Trucking Companies Deliver Sales, Profit Gains

A financial statement analysis shows that private companies in the general-freight trucking industry, on average, increased sales by about 7 percent. Industry sales growth slowed from 2012, although not quite as much as sales slowed among private companies of all types in Sageworks’ database.

Sageworks analyst Peter Brown said the trucking industry is a good indicator of the U.S. economy because it shows what’s going on domestically with shipments, as opposed to other forms of freight transport that are more heavily influenced by international shipments.

“What’s also true about the trucking industry is that it seems to parallel other measures of economic activity like manufacturing and consumer spending, which have risen in the last year as well,” Brown said.

Brown said it’s unclear whether volume, pricing, or a combination of the two was behind private trucking companies’ 2013 sales increases reported in Sageworks’ data. Other industry groups, however, have reported truckers generally have been hauling heavier loads, even if rates and the number of shipments haven’t improved materially.

Privately held U.S. trucking companies posted their fourth year of higher sales, and profitability also improved in 2013, according to data from Sageworks, a financial information company.

Private trucking companies historically have thin profit margins relative to other industries, according to Sageworks’ data. But profitability improved in 2013, according to preliminary estimates. Net profit margin, on average, was about 6 percent, compared with average margins in the 3 percent to 4 percent range the previous three years.