Top Freight Companies To Own In Right Now

T-Mobile USA (NYSE: TMUS  ) had a successful debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. 

Investors bought into the company that consists of the merged T-Mobile and smaller MetroPCS. Deutsche Telekom (NASDAQOTH: DTEGY  ) will retain a 74% stake in the combined company.

It’s good timing. A pair of bidders are making a play for Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) , and the market can always use a third public player to keep AT&T (NYSE: T  ) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) honest.

T-Mobile USA is losing contract subscribers, and its 43 million combined subscribers is less than Sprint’s 55 million. It’s also naturally a lot smaller than market leaders AT&T and Verizon Wireless. However, having a company check in every three months is important, even if T-Mobile’s financials will be as unimpressive as Sprint’s reports have been lately. 

In this video, longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz explains why it’s important to have a third publicly traded wireless carrier for investors to dissect.

Top Freight Companies To Own In Right Now: Chalmers Ltd (CHR)

Chalmers Limited is an Australia-based company engaged in transport, logistic services, warehousing and container storage, repairs and sales. The Company operated in three segments: Transport, Containers and Property. Transport consists of road transport, predominantly import/export FCL containers and the interface with logistics/ warehousing/hubbing services. Containers represent the empty container park operations concerned with handling, storage, repairs, upgrades, pretrips and so on of empty containers on behalf of shipping and leasing company customers. Property represents the capital investment Chalmers has in freeholds located in Melbourne. The Company’s subsidiaries include Chalmers Industries Pty Ltd, Chalmers (Australia) Pty Ltd and Chalmers Industries (Brisbane) Pty Ltd. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Corinne Gretler]

    Chr. Hansen A/S (CHR) slid 1.7 percent to 186 kroner after Credit Suisse Group AG cut the stock to neutral, the equivalent of hold, from outperform. The brokerage said that profit from its natural-color business remains under pressure. The world’s biggest maker of dairy enzymes cut its full-year sales forecast on July 3 because of lower prices for the red pigment carmine.

Top Freight Companies To Own In Right Now: Knight Transportation Inc (KNX)

Knight Transportation, Inc. (Knight), incorporated on August 31, 1989, is a provider of multiple truckload transportation services, which generally involve the movement of full trailer or container loads of freight from origin to destination for a single customer. The Company is a provider of multiple truckload transportation services with a nationwide network of service centers through which it operates one of the tractor fleets. In addition to its own fleet, the Company also partners with third-party equipment providers to provide truckload capacity and a broad range of solutions to truckload shippers. The Company has five operating segments comprised of three asset-based operating segments: dry van truckload, temperature-controlled truckload and port services and two non-asset-based operating segments brokerage and intermodal services. Through its asset-based and non-asset-based capabilities the Company is able to transport, or can arrange for the transportation of, gen eral commodities for customers throughout the United States and parts of Canada and Mexico.

The Company’s asset-based businesses generally include dry van truckload, refrigerated truckload, dedicated truckload, and drayage services. Its non-asset-based services generally include rail intermodal and truckload brokerage services. However, within its asset-based services, the use of independent contractors to provide tractors lowers the capital investment in its dry van and refrigerated operations. In addition, drayage operations generally involve less expensive tractors with longer lives and do not require a investment in trailering equipment. As of December 31, 2012, it operated 3,627 company-owned tractors with an average age of 1.9 years. It also had under contract 507 tractors owned and operated by independent contractors. Its trailer fleet consisted of 9,564 53-foot long trailers with an average age of 5.5 years and includes 1,092 temperature-controlled trai lers.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Victor Nguyen]

    A report released Thursday morning, Citigroup analyst Christian Wetherbee upgrades Knight Transportation (NYSE: KNX) to BUY from NEUTRAL, increasing price target from $17 to $22.

  • [By Sean Williams]

    Swift Transportation (NYSE: SWFT  ) , for example, delivered a 4% increase in revenue this past quarter in spite of having fewer trucks in service. The company was able to realize better utilization of its existing fleet and actually saw fuel prices fall from the previous year. The results were even more robust for Knight Transportation (NYSE: KNX  ) , whose shareholders saw revenue rise by 7% as the company grew from the year-ago quarter for the 14th straight time and delivered growth from each of its business segments.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Calling all cash flows
    When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on Knight Transportation (NYSE: KNX  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

Top Freight Companies To Own In Right Now: PostNL NV (PNL)

PostNL NV is a Netherlands-based Company active in delivery sector. The Company is engaged in the delivery of documents, small packages and standard parcels. The Company’s business is organized into three segments: Mail in the Netherlands, responsible for mail services in the Netherland, documents management, direct marketing and fulfillment services, and operating over 2,600 shop-in-shop post offices; Parcels, providing parcel services in the Netherlands and Belgium for both domestic and cross-border parcel distribution, and International, operating in the postal markets of the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy, and focusing on domestic addressed mail services. The Company also provides marketing and communication services, fulfillment solutions and e-commerce related solutions. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Inyoung Hwang]

    PostNL (PNL) sank 11 percent to 2.48 euros, the biggest decline since Jan. 14. The Amsterdam-based company said sales in the second-quarter were 1.03 billion euros ($1.37 billion), falling short of the 1.04 billion euros predicted by analysts on average. PostNL forecast addressed mail volume in 2013 will drop as much as 11 percent, greater than its previous forecast of no more than 10 percent.

Top Freight Companies To Own In Right Now: Echo Global Logistics Inc (ECHO)

Echo Global Logistics, Inc. (Echo) is a provider of technology enabled transportation and supply chain management services. Its Web-based technology platform compiles and analyzes data from its network of over 24,000 transportation providers to serve its clients’ shipping and freight management needs. Its technology platform, composed of Web-based software applications and a database, enables it to identify excess transportation capacity, obtain competitive rates, and execute thousands of shipments every day. It focuses on arranging transportation across truckload (TL) and less than truck load (LTL), and it also offers small parcel, inter-modal (which involves moving a shipment by rail and truck), domestic air, expedited and international transportation services. Its logistics services include rate negotiation, shipment execution and tracking, carrier management, routing compliance, freight bill audit and payment and performance management reporting, including executive da shboard tools. Effective January 1, 2011, the Company acquired Nationwide Traffic Services, LLC. (Nationwide) Effective July 1, 2011, the Company acquired Advantage Transport, Inc. (Advantage). Effective December 1, 2011, the Company acquired the stock of Trailer Transport Systems (TTS). In June 2012, the Company acquired Plum Logistics, LLC. In July 2012, it acquired all of the assets of Shipper Direct Logistics, Inc. In October 2012, the Company acquired Sharp Freight Systems, Inc.

The Company’s clients fall into two categories, enterprise and transactional. Its enterprise clients outsource their transportation management function to Echo. It enters into multi-year contracts with its enterprise clients. As part of its value proposition, it also provides core logistics services to these clients, including the management of both freight expenditures and logistical issues surrounding freight to be transported. It provides transportation and logistics services t o its transactional clients on a shipment-by-shipment basis.! It is a non-asset-based provider of technology enabled transportation and logistics services. Through its carrier network, it provides transportation services using a range of modes of transportation.

Transportation Services

The Company provides Truckload (TL) services across all TL segments, including dry vans, temperature-controlled units and flatbeds. Using its LaneIQ technology, it provide advanced dispatch, communication and data collection tools and capacity information to its clients on a real-time basis. The Company provides less than truckload (LTL) services involving the shipment of single or multiple pallets of freight. Using its RateIQ 2.0 technology, it obtains real-time pricing and transit time information for every LTL shipment from its database of LTL carriers. It provides small parcel services for packages of all sizes. Using its EchoPak technology, it delivers cost saving opportunities to its clients. Inter-modal transportation is the shipping of freight by multiple modes, using a container that is transferred between ships, railcars or trucks. It offers inter-modal transportation services for its clients, which utilizes both trucks and rail. The Company provides domestic air and expedited shipment services for its clients when traditional LTL services do not meet delivery requirements. It uses ETM track and trace tools for up to date information to its clients through EchoTrak. The Company provides air and ocean transportation services for its clients, offering a comprehensive international delivery option to its clients.

Logistics Services

In addition to arranging for transportation, the Company provides logistics services, either on-site (in the case of some enterprise clients) or off-site, to manage the flow of those goods from origin to destination. Its core logistics services include rate negotiation; procurement of transportation, both contractually and in the spot m arket; shipment execution and tracking; carrier management, ! reporting! and compliance; executive dashboard presentations and detailed shipment reports; freight bill audit and payment; claims processing and service refund management; design and management of inbound client freight programs; individually configured Web portals and self-service data warehouses; enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration with transactional shipment data, and integration of shipping applications into client e-commerce sites. Customers communicate their freight needs, typically on a shipment-by-shipment basis, to the individual or team responsible for their account. Customers communicate with it by means of telephone, fax, Internet, e-mail, or Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

Technology Platform

The Company’s ETM technology platform allows it to analyze its clients’ transportation requirements and provide customized shipping recommendations. It collects and store pricing and market capacity data in its ETM database from each interac tion with carriers, and its database expands as a result of these interactions. It has also developed data acquisition tools, which retrieve information from both private and public transportation databases, including subscription-based sources and public transportation rate boards, and incorporate that information into the ETM database. Its clients communicate their transportation needs to it electronically through its EchoTrak web portal, other computer protocols, or by phone. ETM generates pricing and carrier information for its clients by accessing pre-negotiated rates with preferred carriers or using present or historical pricing and capacity information contained in its database. If a client enters its own shipment, ETM automatically alerts the appropriate account executive. After the carrier is selected, either by it or the client, its account executives use its ETM technology platform to manage all aspects of the shipping process.

The Company’s FastLan e is an Internet-based Web portal, which allows its carriers! to view ! shipments available for tender, update equipment availability and preferred lanes, check on the status of all unpaid invoices, unbilled shipments, shipments in transit and other information used to resolve any billing discrepancies. There is also a mobile FastLane application, which allows carriers to view similar information remotely. eConnect is a set of tools, which allows the Company’s clients and carriers to interact directly with ETM electronically through any of several computer protocols, including EDI, extensible markup language (XML) and file transfer protocol (FTP). The eConnect tools serve as an electronic bridge between the other elements of its ETM technology platform and its clients’ enterprise resource planning (ERP), billing, accounts receivable, accounts payable, order management, back office and e-commerce systems. Through eConnect, its clients are able to request shipping services and receive financial and tracking data using their existing systems.

EchoTrak is an Internet-based Web portal, which connects and integrates its clients with ETM. By entering a username and password, its clients are able to enter orders, display historical and active shipments in the ETM system using configurable data entry screens sorted by carrier, price, delivery date, destination and other relevant specifications. EchoTrak also generates automatic alerts to ensure that shipments are moving in accordance with the client specifications and timeline. There is also a mobile EchoTrak application, which allows customers to perform similar functions remotely. RateIQ2.0 is a pricing engine, which manages LTL tariffs and generates rate quotes and transit times for LTL shipments. RateIQ2.0 also provides integrated tools to manage dispatch, communications, data collection and management functions relating to LTL shipments. LaneIQ is a pricing engine, which generates rate quotes for TL shipments. LaneIQ also provides integrated tools to man age dispatch, communications, headhaul and backhaul data col! lection a! nd management functions relating to TL shipments. EchoPak is a small parcel pricing and audit engine. For each small parcel shipped, EchoPak audits carrier compliance with on-time delivery requirements and pricing tariffs. In addition, EchoPak tracks information for each parcel and is able to aggregate and analyze that data for clients. For instance, clients are able to view shipments by date, business unit, product line and location, and clients can access information regarding service levels and pricing

The Company’s Shipment Tracking stores shipment information en-route and after final delivery. The shipment data is acquired through its carrier EDI integration, allowing its clients to track the location and status of all shipments on one screen, regardless of mode or carrier. Final delivery information is permanently archived, allowing it to provide its clients with carrier performance reporting by comparing actual delivery times with the published transit time standards.

Document Imaging allows the Company to store digital images of all shipping documents, including bills of lading and delivery receipts. CAS (Cost Allocation System) automatically audits carrier invoices against its rating engine and accounts payable accrual system. If the amounts match, the invoice is automatically released for payment. If the amounts do not match, the invoice is sent to various administrative personnel for manual processing and resolution. CAS also integrates to its general ledger, accounts receivable and accounts payable systems. Accounting includes its general ledger, accounts receivable and accounts payable functions. Accounting is integrated with CAS and EchoIQ. EchoIQ stores internally and externally generated data to support its reporting and analytic functions and integrate all of its core applications with ETM. ETM supports its logistics services, which it provides to its clients as part of its value proposition. Its ET M technology platform is able to track individual shipments ! and provi! de customized data and reports throughout the lifecycle of the shipment, allowing it to manage the entire shipping process for its clients. It also market Flex TMS.

The Company competes with C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Total Quality Logistics, UPS, FedEx, Schneider, Conway, JB Hunt and ABF.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Will Ashworth]

    Without further adieu, here are my five best stocks for the next 20 years:

    Best Stocks #1 (Small Cap): Echo Global Logistics (ECHO)

    Echo Global Logistics (ECHO) uses web-based proprietary technology to provide business process outsourcing to the transportation industry. Founded in 2005, ECHO serves more than 28,500 small- and midsize customers who use its technology to access the best shipping prices from a network of 24,000 carriers in a matter of seconds.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Calling all cash flows
    When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on Echo Global Logistics (Nasdaq: ECHO  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

Top Freight Companies To Own In Right Now: Aurizon Holdings Ltd (QRNNF)

Aurizon Holdings Limited, formerly QR National Limited, is a rail freight operator. It owns and operates a coal network made up of 2,670 kilometers of heavy haul rail infrastructure. It provides specialist services in rail design, engineering, construction, management and maintenance, and offers supply chain solutions to a range of customers in Australia. Its business comprises three product lines. Coal business includes transport of coal from mines in Queensland and New South Wales to end customers and ports. Freight business includes transport of bulk mineral commodities, including iron ore, agricultural products, mining and industrial inputs and general freight throughout Queensland and Western Australia. Network Services business provides access to, and operation and management of the Central Queensland Coal Network. In January 2014 the Company announced that National Australia Bank Limited and its associated entities has ceased to be the substantial holder of the Company . Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By MARKETWATCH]

    LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Australia stocks enjoyed early Monday gains after an advance for commodities and U.S. stocks since the last session, with a relatively good reception for earnings. The S&P/ASX 200 (AU:XJO) improved by 0.4% to 5,376.30, with miners tracking gains in gold and copper. Rio Tinto Ltd. (AU:RIO) (RIO) added 1.3%, and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (AU:FMG) (FSUMF) traded 1.1% higher, while gold miners Newcrest Mining Ltd. (AU:NCM) (NCMGF) and Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. (AU:KCN) (KSKGF) rallied 2.2% and 4.7%, respectively. Banks rose after Wall Street shares climbed on Friday, with National Australia Bank Ltd. (AU:NAB) (NAUBF) up 1% and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (AU:ANZ) (ANEWF) adding 0.9%, though Commonwealth Bank of Australia (AU:CBA) (CBAUF) dropped 2.4% as it traded without rights to its latest dividend. Coal transport firm Aurizon Holdings Ltd. (AU:AZJ) (QRNNF) tacked on 2.1% as its fiscal first-half underlying profit increased 18%, though net profit f

Top Freight Companies To Own In Right Now: Hub Group Inc (HUBG)

Hub Group, Inc., incorporated on March 8, 1995, is an asset-light freight transportation management companies. The Company offers intermodal, truck brokerage and logistics services. The Company operates distinct business segments: Mode, which includes the acquired Mode business acquired by the Company on April 1, 2011, and Hub, which is all business other than Mode. Both segments offer intermodal, truck brokerage and logistics services. Hub operates through a network of operating centers throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Hub services a diversified customer base in a broad range of industries, including consumer products, retail and durable goods. Mode markets and operates its freight transportation services primarily through its network of independent business owners (IBOs) who enter into contracts with Mode. Mode’s company managed operation includes a business arranging for the transportation of raw materials and finished products for a food producer and, t o a lesser extent, other highway brokerage, intermodal and logistics operations.

Intermodal

As an intermodal marketing company (IMC), the Company arranges for the movement of its customers freight in containers and trailers, typically over long distances of 750 miles or more. The Company contracts with railroads to provide transportation for the long-haul portions of the shipment and with local trucking companies, known as drayage companies, for pickup and delivery. As part of the Company’s intermodal services, the Company negotiates rail and drayage rates, electronically tracks shipments in transit, consolidate billing and handle claims for freight loss or damage on behalf of its customers.

The Company uses its network to access containers and trailers owned by leasing companies, railroads and steamship lines. The Company is able to track trailers and containers entering a service area and reuses that equipment to fulfill the customer s’ outbound shipping requirements. As of December 31, 2012, ! Hub had access to approximately 9,111 rail-owned containers for the Company’s dedicated use on the Union Pacific (UP) and the Norfolk Southern (NS) rails. In addition to these rail-owned containers, as of December 31, 2012, the Company had a total of 14,756 53-inch private containers for use on the UP and NS. The Company financed 6,167 of these containers with operating leases and the Company owns 8,589 containers.

As of December 31, 2012, approximately 66% of the Company’s drayage needs were met by its subsidiary, Comtrak Logistics, Inc. (Comtrak), which assists its customers. Comtrak has terminals in Atlanta, Birmingham, Charleston, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus (OH), Dallas, Harrisburg, Huntsville, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Memphis, Nashville, Newark, Los Angeles, Perry (FL), Philadelphia, Savannah, Seattle, St. Louis, Stockton, and Titusville (FL). As of December 31, 2012, Comtrak owned 260 tractors, leased or owned 448 trailers, employed 296 drivers and contracted with 2,178 owner-operators.

Truck Brokerage (Highway Services)

The Company is a truck broker in the United States. As part of the truck brokerage services, the Company negotiates rates , track shipments in transit and handle claims for freights loss and damage on behalf of its customers.

Logistics and Other Services

Hub’s logistics business operates under the name of Unyson Logistics. Unyson Logistics consists of a network of logistics professionals dedicated to developing, implementing and operating customized logistics solutions. Unyson offers a range of transportation management services and technology solutions, including shipment optimization, load consolidation, mode selection, carrier management, load planning and execution and Web-based shipment visibility. Unyson Logistics operates throughout North America, providing operations through its main operating loca tion in St. Louis with additional support locations in Bosto! n, Chicag! o, Cleveland and Minneapolis. Certain Mode agents provide logistics services. The Company’s multi-modal transportation capabilities through both the Hub and Mode segments include small parcel, heavyweight, expedited, less-than-truckload, truckload, intermodal and railcar.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Hub Group (NASDAQ: HUBG) surged 3.13% to $44.20. The volume of Hub Group shares traded was 388% higher than normal. Hub Group reported its Q1 earnings of $0.33 per share on revenue of $848.40 million. Longbow Research upgraded Hub Group from Neutral to Buy.

Top Freight Companies To Own In Right Now: Forward Air Corp (FWRD)

Forward Air Corporation operates in two segments: Forward Air, Inc. (Forward Air) and Forward Air Solutions, Inc. (FASI). Through the Company’s Forward Air segment, it is a provider of time-definite surface transportation and related logistics services to the North American deferred air freight market. It offers its customers local pick-up and delivery (Forward Air Complete) and scheduled surface transportation of cargo. It transports cargo that must be delivered at a specific time but is less time-sensitive than traditional air freight. As of December 31, 2011, it operated its Forward Air segment through a network of terminals located on or near airports in 85 cities in the United States and Canada, including a central sorting facility in Columbus, Ohio and 12 regional hubs serving key markets. It also offers its customers an array of logistics and other services including expedited full truckload (TLX); dedicated fleets; warehousing; customs brokerage; and shipment conso lidation, deconsolidation and handling. During the year ended December 31, 2011, approximately 23.9% of the freight it handled was for overnight delivery, approximately 61.3% was for delivery within two to three days and the balance was for delivery in four or more days. Through its FASI segment, it provides pool distribution services throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest and Southwest continental United States. Pool distribution involves managing high-frequency, last mile handling and distribution of time-sensitive product to destinations in geographic regions. In March 2013, it acquired Total Quality, Inc. In February 2014, Forward Air Corporation acquired Central States Trucking Co. and Central States Logistics, Inc. from Central States Inc.

Forward Air

The Company receives freight from air freight forwarders, integrated air cargo carriers and passenger and cargo airlines at its terminals, which are located on or near airports in the U nited States and Canada. It also picks up freight from custo! mers at designated locations via our Forward Air Complete service. It transports these shipments by truck through its network to its terminals nearest the destinations of the shipments. It operates scheduled service to and from each of its terminals through its Columbus, Ohio central sorting facility or through one of its 12 regional hubs. It also operates scheduled shuttle service directly between terminals where the volume of freight warrants bypassing the Columbus, Ohio central sorting facility or a regional hub. When a shipment arrives at its terminal nearest its destination, the customer arranges for the shipment to be picked up and delivered to its final destination, or it, in the alternative, through its Forward Air Complete service, deliver the freight for the customer to its final destination. Its airport-to-airport network consists of terminals located in the 85 cities. As of December 31, 2011, independent agents and FASI operate 18 and two of its Forward Air locat ions.

The Company operates direct terminal-to-terminal services and regional overnight service between terminals where justified by freight volumes. It provides regional overnight service to the markets within its network. Direct shipments also reduce the likelihood of damage because of reduced handling and sorting of the freight. It operates regional hubs in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Newark, Newburgh, Orlando, and Sacramento. During 2011, the average weekly volume of freight moving through its network was approximately 34.0 million pounds per week. During 2011, its average shipment weighed approximately 717 pounds and shipment sizes ranged from small boxes weighing only a few pounds to large shipments of several thousand pounds.

The Company’s logistics and other services allow customers to access services from a single source: expedited full truckload (TLX); dedicated fleets; cu stoms brokerage, such as assistance with the United States C! ustoms an! d Border Protection (U.S. Customs) procedures for both import and export shipments; warehousing, dock and office space; drayage and intermodal; hotshot or ad-hoc ultra expedited services, and shipment consolidation and handling, such as shipment build-up and break-down and reconsolidation of air or ocean pallets or containers.

Forward Air Solutions

Through the Company’s FASI segment, it provides pool distribution services through a network of terminals and service locations in 19 cities throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest and Southwest continental United States. Pool distribution involves managing high-frequency handling and distribution of time-sensitive product to destinations in specific geographic regions. Its customers for this product are regional and nationwide distributors and retailers, such as mall, strip mall and outlet-based retail chains. Its pool distribution network consists of terminals and service locations in the 19 cities. Its Forward Air wholesale customer base is comprised of freight forwarders, integrated air cargo carriers and passenger and cargo airlines. Its air freight forwarder customers vary in size from independent, single facility companies to international logistics companies, such as SEKO Worldwide, AIT Worldwide Logistics, Expeditors International of Washington, Associated Global, UPS Supply Chain Solutions and Pilot Air Freight. Its FASI pool distribution customers are consisted of national and regional retailers and distributors, such as The Limited, The Marmaxx Group, The GAP, and Aeropostale. The Company also participates in air cargo and retail trade shows and advertise its services through direct mail programs and through the Internet via www.forwardair.com and www.forwardairsolutions.com.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Calling all cash flows
    When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on Forward Air (Nasdaq: FWRD  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

Top Freight Companies To Own In Right Now: Werner Enterprises Inc (WERN)

Werner Enterprises, Inc., incorporated on September 14, 1982, is a transportation and logistics company engaged primarily in hauling truckload shipments of general commodities in both interstate and intrastate commerce. The Company also provides logistics services through its value added services (VAS) division. As of the year ended December 31, 2012, the Company had a fleet of 7,150 trucks, of which 6,505 were Company-operated and 645 were owned and operated by independent contractors. The Company operates in two segments: Truckload Transportation Services (Truckload) and VAS.

Truckload segment

The Company’s Truckload segment consists of the One-Way Truckload and Specialized Services units. One-Way Truckload includes the operating fleets: the regional short-haul (Regional) fleet transports a variety of consumer nondurable products and other commodities in truckload quantities within geographic regions across the United States using dry van trai lers; the medium-to-long-haul van (Van) fleet provides comparable truckload van service over irregular routes, and the expedited (Expedited) fleet provides time-sensitive truckload services utilizing driver teams.

Specialized Services provides truckload services dedicated to a specific customer, generally for a retail distribution center or manufacturing facility, including services for products requiring specialized trailers such as flatbed or temperature-controlled trailers. The Company’s Truckload fleets operate throughout the 48 contiguous United States, both common and contract, granted by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). The Company also has authority to operate in several provinces of Canada and to provide through-trailer service into and out of Mexico. The principal types of freight the Company transports include retail store merchandise, consumer products, grocery products and manufactured products. The Company focuses on transport ing consumer nondurable products that generally ship.

!

VAS segment

The Company’s VAS segment is a non-asset-based transportation and logistics provider. VAS is consists of four operating units that provide non-trucking services to the Company’s customers: truck brokerage (Brokerage) uses contracted carriers to complete customer shipments; freight management (Freight Management) offers a range of single-source logistics management services and solutions; the intermodal (Intermodal) unit offers rail transportation through alliances with rail and drayage providers as an alternative to truck transportation, and Werner Global Logistics international (WGL) provides complete management of global shipments from origin to destination using a combination of air, ocean, truck and rail transportation modes. The Company’s Brokerage unit had transportation services contracts with approximately 9,400 carriers as of December 31, 2012.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Mike Deane]

    Werner Enterprises (WERN) announced its third quarter earnings after the bell on Thursday, posting a 1% change in revenues from last year’s Q3, but a 15% drop in net income.

    The Omaha, NE-based logistics and transportation company announced Q3 revenue of $511.73 million, which was up slightly from last year’s $506.50 million revenue figure. WERN reported net income for the quarter of $21.53 million, or 29 cents per diluted share, which was down from last year’s Q3 earnings of $25.13 million, or 34 cents per diluted share.

    The company was able to meet analyst views of 29 cents EPS, and slightly surpass the revenue estimate of $503.82 million.

    WERN shares were up 21 cents, or 0.90%, at Thursday’s market close, but were edging lower in after-hours trading. YTD, the company’s stock is up just over 4%.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ: WERN) is expected to post its Q3 earnings at $0.29 per share on revenue of $503.82 million.

    Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) is estimated to post its Q3 earnings at $2.78 per share on revenue of $820.28 million.

Top Freight Companies To Own In Right Now: TNT Express NV (TNTE)

TNT Express NV is the Netherlands-based express delivery company. It collects, transports and delivers documents, parcels and freight on a time-certain or day-definite basis. The Company operates worldwide with domestic, regional and intercontinental delivery. It has own operations in more than 60 countries and can deliver to more than 200 countries through own operations, subcontractors and agents. Its customers are international companies, as well as small and medium enterprises. The Company serves industries such as technology, automotive, industrial, healthcare and lifestyle, as well as financial institutions and governments. The Company operates interconnected international air and road networks. The air network consists of a central air hub in Liege, Belgium, and a fleet of more than 50 aircrafts. The road networks are operated in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and South America. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Inyoung Hwang]

    TNT Express NV (TNTE) lost 4.3 percent to 6.33 euros, its lowest price in four months. PostNL NV, the Dutch mail service with operations in the U.K. and Germany, said it will sell about half of its 29.8 percent stake in the Dutch package-delivery company to reduce debt. The 15 percent stake up for sale is valued at about 540 million euros ($738 million), according to data compiled by Bloomberg. PostNL gained 1.8 percent to 4.17 euros.

  • [By Robert Wall]

    One of the country’s largest employers with more than 150,000 staff, Royal Mail has shifted away from letters to more lucrative package shipping, competing with TNT Express NV (TNTE) of the Netherlands and Deutsche Post AG (DPW)’s DHL Express.

Top Freight Companies To Own In Right Now: Heartland Express Inc (HTLD)

Heartland Express, Inc. (Heartland), incorporated on August 8, 1986, is a short-to-medium haul truckload carrier. The Company provides regional dry van truckload services through its regional terminals plus its corporate headquarters. The Company transports freight for shippers and generally earns revenue based on the number of miles per load delivered. The Company’s primary traffic lanes are between customer locations east of the Rocky Mountains. The Company is a holding company of Heartland Express Inc. of Iowa, Heartland Express Services, Inc., Heartland Express Maintenance Services, Inc. and A & M Express, Inc. Heartland operates nine specialized regional distribution operations in Atlanta, Georgia; Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Chester, Virginia; Columbus, Ohio; Jacksonville, Florida; Kingsport, Tennessee; Olive Branch, Mississippi; Phoenix, Arizona, and Seagoville, Texas. The Company operates maintenance facilities at all regional distribution operating centers along wit h shop only locations in Fort Smith, Arkansas and O’Fallon, Missouri. In November 2013, Heartland Express Inc acquired 100% of the stock of Gordon Trucking, Inc.

The Company’s operations department is responsible for maintaining the continuity between the customer’s needs and Heartland’s ability to meet those needs by communicating customer’s expectations to the fleet management group. They are charged with development of customer relationships, ensuring service standards, coordinating proper freight-to-capacity balancing, trailer asset management, and daily tactical decisions pertaining to matching the customer demand with the appropriate capacity within geographical service areas. They assign orders to drivers based on well-defined criteria, such as driver safety and United States Department of Transportation (the DOT) compliance, customer needs and service requirements, on-time service, equipment utilization, driver time at home, operational effici ency, and equipment maintenance needs. Fleet management is r! esponsible for driver management and development. Their responsibilities include meeting the needs of the drivers within the standards that have been set by the organization and communicating the requirements of the customers to the drivers on each order to ensure successful execution. Serving the short-to-medium haul market (500 miles average length of haul in 2012) permits the Company to use primarily single, rather than team drivers and dispatch loads directly from origin to destination without an intermediate equipment change other than for driver scheduling purposes.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Shares of Heartland Express (HTLD) rose today despite being cut by Stifel Nicolaus for valuation reasons.

    Bloomberg News

    Shares of Heartland Express have gained 50% this year, trumping the 38% rise in Con-Way (CNW) and the 29% advance in J.B. Hunt Transport Services (JBHT) but lagging Old Dominion Freight Lines (ODFL) and Swift Transportation (SWFT).

    That big gain was enough for Stifel’s John Larkin say no mas and cut his rating on Heartland Express. They explain why:

    Downgrading from Buy to Hold as the company’s shares appear fully and fairly valued. In fact, shares have recently traded through our 12-month fair value estimate of $19 (or 16.0x our 2015 EPS estimate of $1.15 plus ~$0.68 per share NPV of future cash tax benefits).

    Rating change is primarily valuation based as well as from our view that most transportation equities are trading ahead of the still mediocre underlying freight market fundamentals.

    BB&T’s Thomas Albrecht and team, who upgraded Heartland Express to Buy from Hold yesterday, explain why they think the stock will do just fine regardless of the economy:

    Heartland is an intriguing play upon both a slow-growth economy and a rapidly growing one (along with tight capacity). Many carriers are only able to thrive in the latter environment. With HTLD we believe that even in a sluggish economy it has a self-generating EPS story through the integration and growth of Gordon. Q3’13, a very difficult quarter for TL carriers, saw HTLD post a 79.3% OR versus 83.3%.

    The timing of the Gordon deal seems ideal, similar to the Great Coastal acquisition in mid-2002. Back then the TL market was stabilizing, but had yet to really take off, which occurred in the back half of 2003. Those 4-5 quarters allowed HTLD to assess customers, integrate operations, consolidate facilities and get ready for the next cycle. By the time that occurred HTLD was ready to take advantage of the capacity

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Heartland Express (HTLD) has dropped 2.2% to $19.12 after it was cut to Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolaus.

    Allergan (AGN) was upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo.

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    Heartland Express Inc.(HTLD), a trucking firm steered by the Gerdin family, agreed to acquire another family controlled peer, Gordon Trucking Inc., in a transaction valued at about $300 million. Shares climbed 12% to $16.05 in light premarket trading.