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Performance Metrics Used by Freight Transport Providers - page 18 / 35





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W. Cottrell

Cal Poly Pomona

revealed that measurement

the greatest proportion of performance categories were either equipment- or load

measures was financial. and haul-related. Notably,

Other performance none of the carriers

included a congestion- or speed-based measure, although the ultimately be reflected in financial statements. Three measures important” to the industry:

effects of any shipping delays would were emphasized as being “extremely

  • Average length of haul

  • Empty miles factor

  • Operating margin or ratio

The average length of haul is self-explanatory. One definition of the empty miles factor is the total number of miles traveled between loads as a percentage of the total miles traveled. The operating margin or ratio is simply a company’s operating expenses divided by the operating revenue. Other performance measures being used, in the financial, equipment and load categories, are listed in Table 6. Performance standards vary by carrier; this research did not investigate the different possible criteria.

Table 6. Performance Measures Financial (annual or year-end) % of revenue from S&P 500 % of revenue from top customers After-tax return on equity Annual revenue growth rate Average shares outstanding Book value per share

Used by Commercial Vehicle Operators


Load and Haul

Average age of revenue equipme Equipment utilization rate Tractor operating life Trailers in service (trailer fleet) Trailer operating life Tractors in service (tractor fleet)


Average length of haul Empty miles factor Freight volume Hundredweight Loaded miles per load Loaded miles

Claims costs Debt Debt-to-equity ratio Earnings per share FTL or LTL revenue FTL/LTL % of revenue Insurance costs Internal rate(s) of return Market value per share Net capital expenses Net income or loss Operating expenses Operating margin or ratio Pre-tax margin Return on capital Revenue Shareholders’ equity Working capital

Pounds per shipment Revenue per business day Revenue per hundredweight Revenue per loaded mile Revenue per shipment Shipments Shipments per business day

SOURCES: Measures used by Frozen Food Express, US Xpress, and USA Truck.

Other measures in use were customer-oriented, including the number of customers, the proportion of all customers who were returnees, customer duration or dedication, and average collection time (i.e., time

period from billing to receipt of payment).

Still other measures, not fitting into any of the above

categories, included the number of employees, the number of drivers, and the maximum tractor speed. The latter measure was incorporated into one carrier’s safety measures. That is, a limit on tractor speed


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