TRUCKING industry revenues topped $700 billion in 2014 for the first time in the history of the industry, and tank truck carriers accounted for a sizable percentage of that. The latest data shows that the tank truck industry now accounts for almost 26% of the truck tonnage moved in the United States.

Tank truck loads increased by well over 5% in 2014 before the oilfield slowdown kicked into high gear. Fleets with oilfield operations continued to haul significant quantities of frac sand, cement, and crude oil. In addition, domestic oil and gas production increases continued to drive freight volumes of basic chemicals, plastics, and specialty chemicals.

View the 2014 Gross Revenue Report

All of this translated into higher revenues for more than half of the tank truck carriers participating in the 2014 Bulk Transporter Gross Revenue Report. Operating ratios improved or stayed the same for more than two-thirds of the fleets.

All but two of the Top 10 tank truck carriers found revenue growth opportunities in 2014. Kenan Advantage Group remained in the top spot and is still the only tank truck carrier to break through the $1 billion barrier.

The rest of the Top 10 included Quality Distribution Inc, Trimac Transportation Inc, Superior Bulk Logistics, Foodliner/Quest Liner Inc, A&R Logistics, Groendyke Transport Inc, Ruan, Schneider National Bulk Carriers, and Dupré Logistics LLC.

Combined Top 10 revenues were $4.9 billion, a solid improvement over the $4.4 billion reported in 2013. Top 10 revenues accounted for 69.8% of the total in this report, which was less than the percentage in 2013.

Average revenue for 2014 was $173,743,123, up more than $28 million from the average of $145,204,395 in 2013.

The median carrier on the list, the one with an equal number of carriers above and below it, had revenues of $70 million. In 2013, the median carrier revenue was $60,257,000.

Operating ratios for both 2014 and 2013 were supplied by 13 of the carriers in this year’s report. More than 53% showed improvement compared with the previous year. The operating ratio represents operating expenses as a percentage of revenue.

While the sample is relatively small, it is still notable that nearly 70% of the 2014 operating ratios were above 95%. While none were above 100%, nine of the reporting carriers had ratios between 95.0% and 99.9%.

Just three carriers reported operating ratios below 94.9%, and only one was below 90%.

Once again, many of the fleets participating in the 2014 report provided data used to calculate tractor revenues. These numbers give an indication of productivity levels, and they show that tank carriers continue to work hard at squeezing maximum efficiency from their fleets. The average tractor revenue for 2014 was $244,000, slightly above the $236,363 reported in 2013.

Seven of the Top 10 reported tractor revenues, averaging $269,007. This was a solid increase over the $243,785 average reported by the Top 10 in 2013.

 A petroleum hauler claimed the top spot for fleet productivity with tractor revenues of $475,106. The lowest revenue per tractor ($144,081) came from a dry bulk hauler.

Average tractor revenue for petroleum fleets in 2014 was $375, 311. Chemical fleet tractor revenues averaged $256,736. Food haulers averaged $187,748 for tractor revenues, and dry bulk fleets posted average tractor revenues of $206,872.

Many figure used here are from preaudited reports and may include nonbulk revenues or revenues from subsidiary tank truck carriers. In all cases, the numbers were supplied directly to Bulk Transporter. The staff greatly appreciates the cooperation of all who helped in the preparation of this report.  ♦