That meant the carrier’s operating ratio for 2023 was more akin to those it had the last decade — and a notable departure from its 89.7% to 86.4% operating ratio posted in the prior five years.
“This quarter’s earnings were heavily pressured by the freight market recession’s weak demand and oversupply, inflationary operating costs, and cumulative impact of decreased freight rates leading to freight network disruptions,” Executive Chairman Randy Marten said in a news release.
Operating income was $15.7 million in Q4. For the year, that meant a total of $90.1 million — less than annual totals Marten achieved in 2022, 2021 and 2020.
Marten Transport operating ratio abruptly increases in 2023
Despite the blow, the Wisconsin-based carrier fended off rate reductions in Q4, notching its last decrease in August.
The carrier didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment about the earnings and its outlook.
Marten said in his statement that the company remains focused on minimizing the market’s impact on the business and is working toward organic growth opportunities “with fair compensation for our premium services.”
He suggested the market is moving “toward equilibrium from its current recessionary late stages.”