According to analyst John Barnes of Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown, truckload carrier Heartland Express and freight forwarder UTi Worldwide, Inc., are two transportation companies poised to do well this year.

Barnes said he believes Heartland Express has the ability to sustain profitability and strong operating performance despite the current tough economic environment. He also noted that the company has one of the strongest balance sheets among truckload carriers, with approximately $128 million in cash and zero debt.

Further, he stated that Heartland, with its short- to medium-haul focus, is well positioned to take advantage of the trend towards more regional shipping patterns.

On the logistics side, Barnes expects UTi Worldwide is positioned well to profit from the logistics sector over the long term. In his opinion, UTi’s emergence as a major factor in the international freight forwarding arena, coupled with its global network and solid management team, should provide a good foundation for the company to grow profitably.