Despite a nearly $80 million boost in revenues, year over year, and a 4.2-percent rise in tonnage, Arkansas Best turned in a first-quarter net loss of $13.4 million.
The result, however, was an improvement over 2012’s first-quarter net loss of $18.2 million.
ABF officials pointed to the less-than-truckload carrier’s high cost structure as an impact on results. The company recently entered a second month-long contract extension while it strives to achieve a long-term labor agreement. The carrier is trying to revise the contract’s status quo, which officials have said led to $250 million in losses in the last three years. The unions say ABF officials are demanding, among other things, a 6.5-percent pay reduction along with cuts to healthcare and pensions.
ABF president Judy R. McReynolds said the carrier is well-positioned moving forward and the seasonally weak first-quarter will soon be put behind it. Labor talks have also weighed on her mind, and she pointed to a new agreement with lower costs is needed for the carrier to compete in the new LTL market.
“First-quarter revenue and operating income at our emerging businesses reflected growth and improvement, as we invested heavily in these businesses during 2012. They represent a critical piece of Arkansas Best’s strategy to achieve sustained profitability,” McReynolds said in a statement. “The investments made so far have improved the financial performance of these subsidiaries and strengthened their service offerings.” - Jon Ross