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J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., (NASDAQ:JBHT) announced third quarter 2013 net earnings of $89.5 million, or diluted earnings per share of 75 cents vs. third quarter 2012 net earnings of $78.2 million, or 65 cents per diluted share.
Total operating revenue for the current quarter was $1.44 billion, compared with $1.30 billion for the third quarter 2012. Load growth of 11.6% in Intermodal (JBI), implementation of new private fleet conversions in Dedicated Contract Services (DCS)™ and an increase in revenue per load in Integrated Capacity Solutions (ICS), helped drive segment revenue increases of 12%, 17% and 13%, respectively. Truck (JBT) segment revenue decreased by 17%, primarily from a smaller fleet and lower tractor utilization. Current quarter total operating revenue, excluding fuel surcharges, also increased 11% vs. the comparable quarter 2012.
Operating income for the current quarter totaled $151 million vs. $133 million for the third quarter 2012. The increase in operating income from load growth, higher JBI box turns and freight mix was partially offset by increases in driver recruiting costs, higher rates paid to third party carriers for dray, brokerage and truckload services, higher driver mileage pay, higher equipment costs, and lower tractor utilization in JBT due to moderate customer demand and new hours of service regulations.
Interest expense in the current quarter decreased slightly due to lower interest rates from a year ago. The effective income tax rate for both the current quarter and third quarter 2012 was 38.25%. We expect our 2013 annual tax rate to be approximately 38.15%.
Segment Information:Intermodal (JBI)
Third Quarter 2013 Segment Revenue:$890 million; up 12%
Third Quarter 2013 Operating Income:$118.0 million; up 21%
Overall volumes increased 11.6% over the same period in 2012 in an environment of moderating fuel prices and less seasonally volatile freight demand. Eastern network growth was 14.0% and transcontinental growth was 10.2% over the third quarter 2012. Revenue grew 12% with the effect of traffic mix, customer rate increases and fuel surcharges keeping revenue per load virtually flat compared to a year ago.