J.B. Hunt marks another quarterly revenue decline

LOWELL, Ark. – Trucking and logistics giant J.B. Hunt reported $3.3 billion in fourth quarter revenue, down 9% from the same time last year. Net income for the quarter was $153.5 million, down nearly $50 million from last year.

Operating revenue, excluding fuel surcharge revenue, fell 6% from 2022, driven by a decline across nearly all segments. Operating revenue fell 12% in Integrated Capacity Solutions, 7% in Truckload, 10% in Intermodal, 13% in JBT and 12% in Final Mile.

For the full year, revenue was $12.8 billion, a 13% decline from last year. Operating income for the year fell 25%.

Results are similar to the previous quarter, although not as steep. The company reported a 33% drop in revenue in the third quarter, as well as double-digit percentage drops in Intermodal, Truckload, Integrated Capacity and Final Mile. Revenue also fell in the first and second quarters compared with the previous year.

The company cited higher equipment-related costs, higher wages for both drivers and non-drivers, increased insurance and claims expenses, and yield pressure in JBI, ICS and JBT as reasons for its decline in operating income. It cited pre-tax charges of $53.4 million and $64 million for insurance-related items. Higher costs were partially offset by lower rail and truck purchased transportation costs as a percentage of gross revenue.

In Intermodal, the company cited pre-tax insurance charges of nearly $38 million and lower yields as reasons for its $28 million quarterly decline.

In Dedicated Contract, revenue fell 3% for the quarter, driven by a decline in average trucks combined with a modest dip in productivity (revenue per truck per week).

“On a net basis, there were 122 fewer revenue producing trucks in the fleet by the end of the quarter compared to the prior-year period, and seven fewer vs. the end of the third quarter 2023,” the company said. “Customer retention rates are approximately 93%, largely reflecting the downsizing of fleets and to a lesser extent account losses.”

In Final Mile, revenue declined 9%, driven by general weakness in demand. The decline was partially offset by improved revenue quality at underperforming accounts and multiple new customer contracts implemented over the past year, the company said.

At the end of the year, the company had $1.58 billion in total outstanding debt, compared with $1.26 billion at the end of 2022.

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