Trucking company profits take a hit in 2001

“A combined 2,337 for-hire trucking companies, in the aggregate, achieved a 2.1 % profit margin in 2001. That's a material decline compared with a 2.9% profit in 2000,” said Ronald Roth, executive vice-president of Transportation Technical Services.

Results are taken from the 2002-2003 Blue Book of Trucking Companies, a compilation of filed Department of Transportation annual reports containing the latest carrier balance sheets, income statements, and operating expenses. Also shown is the fleet size — number of trucks, tractors, and trailers owned and leased — number of drivers and other employees, miles traveled, tons transported, operating ratio, plus other ratios of carrier profitability, financial strength, and prices charged. Details are available for search, selection, sorting, printing, and download at

Revenues fell 1.2%, total expenses grew 0.2%, and insurance increased 8.7% year over year, according to Blue Book data.

“Pressure from shipper customers caused revenue per mile to decline a penny a mile to $ 1.83 in 2001. Revenue per ton declined by 1% as well. The average load was steady at 15.6 tons, while the average length of haul decreased from 421 to 410 miles,” said Roth.

Total revenues for all carriers in the Blue Book totaled $110 billion. The operating ratio — operating expenses as a percentage of total revenues — grew to 95.85 from 95.09 a year ago.

At 12.9%, return on equity was a third lower than 2000's 18.6% level. Debt-to-equity ratios also deteriorated, rising to 0.55 in 2001 from 0.47 a year ago.

The Blue Book database is available for $395 as part of FleetSeek, TTS's repository for on-line, up-to-date trucking information. For more information, phone the company at 888-ONLY-TTS or visit its web site at

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