GREEN BAY, Wis. — According to a Feb. 1 financial statement released by Schneider National Inc., the company saw reductions in revenue and income across the board during the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31, 2023.
“Our fourth quarter results reflect the persistent challenges of the current freight environment, as well as costs primarily related to the adverse development of two recent accident claims,” said Mark Rourke, president and CEO of Schneider. “We recognized stabilization in network operating conditions through the end of the year along with continued momentum in dedicated, while logistics faced ongoing pricing challenges.”
Even so, the company made several significant advances in 2023, according to Rourke.
“Despite the well-known constraints of the macro environment, we made several key strides this year in advancing our long-term positioning, including adding 750 trucks to our dedicated fleet through organic and acquisitive growth, welcoming our new CPKC rail partnership, and completing our first year partnering with the Union Pacific, all of which were enabled by the strength of our portfolio and balance sheet,” he said.
Unaudited results of operations for 2023 showed Schneider’s revenue and income down significantly across the board. Enterprise income from operations for the fourth quarter of 2023 was $31.3 million, a decrease of $112.0 million (78%) compared to the same quarter in 2022. Fourth quarter 2023’s diluted earnings per share was $0.15 compared to $0.62 in the prior year. Enterprise adjusted diluted earnings per share was $0.16 in the fourth quarter of 2023. Costs associated with the adverse development of claims were partially offset by a lower full year effective tax rate due to changes in tax credits and valuation allowances and resulted in an unfavorable $0.04 net impact to earnings per share.
Truckload revenues (excluding fuel surcharge) for the fourth quarter of 2023 were $550.7 million, an increase of $5.3 million (1%) compared to the same quarter in 2022 due to the impact of dedicated organic and acquisitive growth, largely offset by lower pricing in network. Truckload network volumes improved, and prices stabilized through the quarter. Truckload revenue per truck per week was $4,057, a decrease of 3% compared to the same quarter in 2022.
Truckload income from operations was $18.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2023, a decrease of $50.1 million (73%) compared to the same quarter in 2022 due to lower network pricing, as well as increased claims cost, a net loss on the sale of equipment compared to net gains in the prior year, and inflationary costs. Truckload operating ratio was 96.6% in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to 87.4% in the fourth quarter of 2022.
“While the continuing impacts of the freight downcycle were felt across our portfolio in 2023, we believe the signs of stabilization seen in the fourth quarter of 2023 may be indicative of a broader freight market rebalancing ahead of us in 2024,” said Darrell Campbell, executive vice president and CFO of Schneider. “However, the shape of the recovery remains uncertain and is likely to be disproportionately weighted towards the second half of the year.”
Campbell says the company has plans to bounce back this year.
“As we enter 2024, we are intently focused on our targeted actions to restore margins, deliver on our commercial and operational objectives, and further execute on our cost containment strategies,” he said. “Based on these strategic priorities and market expectations, our guidance for full year 2024 adjusted diluted earnings per share is $1.15 – $1.30, with a full year effective tax rate of approximately 24.5%. Our net capital expenditures guidance for full year 2024 is a range of $400 to $450 million.”
Rourke also expressed gratitude for the entire Schneider team, particularly the drivers.
“I want to acknowledge and thank our professional drivers and associates for their ongoing, diligent efforts to drive Schneider forward this year,” Rourke said. “As we look ahead to 2024 and what we believe will be a transition year of improving market dynamics, our focus remains on positioning the business for the impending freight recovery, executing on our strategic growth objectives in dedicated, intermodal, and logistics, and continuing to deliver shareholder value.”
Since retiring from a career as an outdoor recreation professional from the State of Arkansas, Kris Rutherford has worked as a freelance writer and, with his wife, owns and publishes a small Northeast Texas newspaper, The Roxton Progress. Kris has worked as a ghostwriter and editor and has authored seven books of his own. He became interested in the trucking industry as a child in the 1970s when his family traveled the interstates twice a year between their home in Maine and their native Texas. He has been a classic country music enthusiast since the age of nine when he developed a special interest in trucking songs.