J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., (NASDAQ: JBHT) said it had third quarter 2015 net earnings of USD115.1 million, or diluted earnings per share of USD0.99 vs. third quarter 2014 net earnings of USD102.4 million, or USD0.87 per diluted share.
Total operating revenue for the current quarter was USD1.59 billion, compared with USD1.60 billion for the third quarter 2014.
Customer rate increases, load growth of three percent in Intermodal (JBI), a 6 percent increase in revenue producing trucks and improved asset productivity, excluding fuel surcharges, in Dedicated Contract Services (DCS)â¢, a nine percent increase in load volume in Integrated Capacity Solutions (ICS) and 14 percent increase in truck count in our Truck (JBT) business segment could not offset the decrease in fuel surcharge revenue and tepid customer demand resulting in a decrease in consolidated revenue compared to prior year.
Current quarter total operating revenue, excluding fuel surcharges, increased eight percent vs. the comparable quarter 2014.
Operating income for the current quarter totaled USD194 million vs. USD172 million for the third quarter 2014. The increase in operating income from load growth, higher productivity and customer rate increases was partially offset by lower box turns from slower train speeds in some regions, increases in rail purchase transportation rates, increases in driver wages and recruiting costs and higher equipment ownership costs compared to third quarter 2014.
Interest expense in the current quarter increased from a year ago due to higher debt levels primarily from the timing of the issuance of new senior notes to refinance maturing senior notes. The effective income tax rate for both the current quarter and third quarter 2014 was 38.10 percent. We expect our 2015 annual tax rate to be approximately 38.10 percent.