Second-quarter financial reports have shown mostly negative returns for trucking companies due to challenging conditions in the industry. To counteract heavy losses, carriers promise to increase efficiency in the months ahead to improve bottom line performance.

YRC Worldwide announced diluted earnings per share of $0.62 for the second quarter of 2008, down from $0.95 in the second quarter of 2007, although the company said it predicts earnings of between $1.05 and $1.15 per share in the third quarter when a curtailment gain of approximately $0.70 per share and increased union health and pension costs of $0.15 per share are included.

Revenue for YRC National was far healthier than YRC Regional—YRC National’s revenue of $1.7 billion was consistent with 2007’s second quarter, but YRC Regional’s revenue of $533 million was down 11.7% from the previous year.

"In spite of a challenging economy, our positive momentum continued in the quarter and we significantly improved our sequential results, delivering earnings consistent with previously issued guidance for the quarter," stated Bill Zollars, chairman, president & CEO of YRC Worldwide. "Our actions to improve operational efficiency, get our regional companies back on track and reduce overhead costs have been effective. We are carrying that momentum forward as we implement further operational improvements in the third quarter."

LTL carrier Saia reported revenues were up 9% in the second quarter compared the second quarter of 2007, but income fell from $14.6 million to $10.9 million during the time period.

“In spite of a challenging environment, we improved our operating ratio by three points compared to the seasonally weak first quarter,” said Rick O’Dell, Saia president & CEO. “We gained traction in our cost initiative projects, particularly in linehaul and dock operations. Our safety performance also showed continued improvement and reduced severity.”

Not all reports were negative. Ryder System, Inc. reported earnings per diluted share of $1.10, a 3% increase from the previous second quarter, despite net earnings falling from $65.1 million to $62.9 million during the time period and total revenue staying flat.

"The Ryder team responded effectively and delivered another solid quarter in a challenging operating environment,” said Ryder chairman & CEO Greg Swienton. “Strong operational execution enabled us to overcome the impacts of multiple expected automotive strikes in North America and unexpected customs and cross-border strikes in South America, as well as operational issues in Brazil.”

Rush Enterprises, which operates heavy- and medium-duty truck dealerships throughout North America, announced income for the second quarter of 2008 fell more than half from the second quarter of 2007, dropping from $13.0 million to $6.1 million. The company’s revenue fell from $488 million to $425.2 million.

The total number of deliveries for Rush in the second quarter of 2008 was far less than the number in the second quarter of 2007, the company said. Rush delivered 1,665 new heavy-duty trucks, 979 medium-duty trucks and 795 used trucks during the quarter, compared to 1,869 new heavy-duty trucks, 1,324 new medium-duty trucks and 984 used trucks during the second quarter of 2007.

“As expected, Class 8 and medium-duty new and used truck markets remained weak through the second quarter,” said W. Marvin Rush, chairman of Rush Enterprises, Inc. “We expect truck sales to remain slow through the remainder of 2008. We continue to believe, however, that replacement cycles of vehicles purchased between 2004 and 2006 combined with impending 2010 emissions regulations will create increased demand for Class 8 and medium-duty trucks in 2009.”

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