Refrigerated carrier Marten posts record results in Q2

A Marten tractor and trailer on the highway

Refrigerated carrier Marten Transport achieved another record financial performance during the second quarter of 2022. After the market closed on Monday, the company reported revenue and earnings per share well ahead of consensus expectations.

Second-quarter consolidated revenue of $330 million was 42% higher year over year and 12% better than the consensus estimate. Diluted EPS of 39 cents was 13 cents higher y/y and 6 cents better than analysts had forecast.

A news release credited the company’s ability to attract drivers to the fleet as a key growth catalyst. Marten (NASDAQ: MRTN) has grown its driver pool by 422, or 15%, over the past year.

“Our ability to capitalize on the high level of demand we continue to see and apply our culture of continuous operating enhancements within our unique business model has largely contributed to our performance improvements,” Executive Chairman Randy Marten stated.

Table: Marten’s key performance indicators

In its truckload division, revenue excluding the impact of fuel increased 22% y/y to $102 million. Revenue per tractor per week was up 23% to $5,080 although average tractors in service dipped 10 units to 1,542. Pricing appeared to be a key driver as revenue per loaded mile excluding fuel jumped 25% y/y to $3.10. The division’s operating ratio was flat at 84.2%.

Dedicated revenue increased 26% y/y to $84 million as revenue per tractor per week increased by a similar amount to $4,072. Revenue per loaded mile net of fuel was 19% higher at $2.50. The OR improved 80 basis points to 83.4%.

Fundamentals in the reefer market have loosened alongside those of the dry van sector. A year ago, temperature-controlled fleets were rejecting one out of every three loads tendered under contract. That number has fallen to about one out of 12 in recent weeks.

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Even with increased wage expenses, the carrier was successful offsetting the impact through higher pricing. As a percentage of consolidated revenue, the compensation line was 310 bps lower y/y. Purchased transportation was a 110-bp headwind. Gains on the sale of equipment were down by roughly $500,000 in the quarter when compared to last year. Marten didn’t disclose the number of units sold or provide any details about the mix.

“The unrelenting national shortage of qualified drivers is a long-term double-edged sword for our industry, simultaneously tightening the freight market while limiting fleet size,” he added. 

Marten’s brokerage revenue increased 80% y/y with load growth representing the bulk of the increase. Intermodal revenue was up more than 25% with revenue per load growing by a similar percentage. Higher revenue per load improved the intermodal unit’s OR by 640 bps to 85.2%.

Shares of MRTN were up 2% in after-hours trading Monday evening.

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