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Profits for Trucking Companies Drop in 2000

A combined 1,866 for-hire trucking companies, in the aggregate, achieved a 2.9% profit margin in 2000, according to information in the 2001-2002 edition of the TTS Blue Book of Trucking Companies.

“Net income margins declined fractionally in 2000 compared with a 3.1% profit margin in 1999,” said Ronald Roth, executive vice-president of Transportation Technical Services. “Gains in expenses (up 8.4%) slightly outpaced growth in revenues (up 8.2%). Pressure from shipper customers caused revenue per mile to decline to $1.81 in 2000 from $1.82 in 1999. Revenue per ton declined by 3% as well. The average load grew to 15.6 tons from 15.4, while the average length of haul decreased from 426 to 421 miles.”

Gross freight revenues for all carriers listed totaled $108.7 billion. The operating ratio — operating expenses as a percentage of total revenues — was 95.08 from 95.01 a year ago. The profit margin fell nominally to 2.9% from 3.1 % a year earlier. Return on equity at 18.6% was off from 19.9% in 1999. On the positive side, debt-to-equity ratios improved during the year, dropping to 0.47 in 2000 from 0.56 a year ago.

Conclusions were based on summary data contained in the 200-2002 TTS Blue Book of Trucking Companies. The publication reflects individual motor carrier data as well as summary tabulations. Included are carrier income statements, balance sheets, and operating expenses. Also shown is the number of trucks, tractors, and trailers owned and leased; operating statistics such as miles traveled and tons transported; plus measures of carrier profitability, financial strength, and prices charged.

The Blue Book is based on carrier reports to the United States Department of Transportation, plus reports from many state public utility commissions.

Copies of the Blue Book are available for $295, which includes the Blue Book Supplement to be issued later in 2001. The supplement will reflect additional carriers who filed late, or with more limited financial information. Blue Book data is also available on CD-ROM or TTS's Internet-based FleetSeek. For more details, phone 888-ONLY-TTS or access

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