Landstar report a good sign for owner-operators

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If earnings at Landstar System, the nation’s largest owner-operator carrier, are any indication, owner-operators are having a better year than they did in 2010.

Revenue from freight hauled by owner-operators and brokerage carriers in the third quarter (ended Sept. 24) was $626 million, compared to $574 million a year ago, the company reported Monday.

Landstar’s bottom line for the quarter was quite good, too. The Jacksonville, Fla.-based company reported record third quarter diluted earnings per share of 64 cents. Total net income was $30 million, compared to $22 million last year.

“Recent trends in September, and thus far in October, indicate continued strength in revenue per load and load volume,” said Henry Gerkens, Landstar’s chairman, president and CEO in a prepared statement.

The earnings report beat Wall Street estimates. Perhaps owner-operators, too, will be surprised by strong freight demand and rising rates as the year finishes out.