Fourth-quarter earning reports issued by carriers are decidedly poor, reflecting how fleets have been unable to overcome less-than-stellar economic conditions and are struggling to maintain 2006 marks

Saia Inc. reported fourth quarter income of $17.1 million, $1.22 per share, down from $25.9 million and $1.74 per share in the fourth quarter of 2006.

"Considering the weak economic conditions, I am relatively pleased with our top line growth," said Saia president & CEO Rick O’Dell. "I am particularly disappointed with the second half results during which margins were challenged due to the weak economic environment, higher accident and health plan expenses at a time we were investing in servicing new lanes associated with our geographic expansions.

“While the near-term economic environment remains challenging, I am cautiously optimistic about 2008,” O’Dell added. “We believe our focused strategy of building density in our recently expanded network and numerous engineered cost initiatives will improve margins and shareholder value."

YRC Worldwide announced earnings per share of $.01 in the fourth quarter, when excluding impairment charges of $782 million, or $12.88 per share, as a result of the company’s purchase of Shanghai Jiayu Logistics Limited, a decrease from $.80 per share from the fourth quarter of 2006.

"The economic environment was challenging throughout 2007 and it was increasingly so in the fourth quarter," stated Bill Zollars, chairman, president & CEO of YRC Worldwide. "Looking forward, we expect the first quarter to also be difficult given it is seasonally the softest and we don't anticipate the economy improving in the near term. As the largest less-than- truckload provider, we are well positioned to benefit from economic recovery, when it occurs."

Purchase giant UPS reported a fourth-quarter loss of $2.58 billion on costs to exit a pension plan, although the company said it was helped by gains in overseas markets.

The net loss was $2.46 a share, a sharp decline from a net gain of $1.04 a share for the fourth quarter of 2006, when the company reported a $1.13 billion profit. But UPS chairman & CEO Scott Davis saw positive signs from the report. "In 2007, UPS delivered on its forecast in an economic environment that became increasingly challenging over the year," he said. "We achieved this through sound execution in all parts of our business. In addition, we reached an historic labor contract with the Teamsters.”

"We anticipate the first quarter will be the most difficult of the year due to lower profitability from an early Easter and additional interest expense not yet offset by labor contract benefits," Davis added.