June 9, 2023

Yellow’s tonnage remains in free fall


Less-than-truckload carrier Yellow Corp. saw tonnage plummet again during the first two months of the second quarter. In a news release issued after the market closed Friday, the carrier provided the dour update.

Yellow’s (NASDAQ: YELL) tonnage declined 16% year over year (y/y) in both April and May. Compared to two years ago, tonnage was off 33% in both months.

Assuming the current y/y growth rates hold through the second quarter, Yellow’s tonnage would be flat with the first quarter, the seasonally weakest period of the year. Yellow normally sees a 6% sequential increase in tonnage from the first to the second quarter each year.

Updates from other carriers imply sequential growth in the second quarter. If current trends hold at each carrier, ArcBest (NASDAQ: ARCB) would see a 7% increase, Saia (NASDAQ: SAIA) a 9% jump and XPO (NYSE: XPO) a 3% step up.

Table: Company reports

Yellow’s declines have been largely tied to the volatility around its restructuring, dubbed One Yellow, in which it is consolidating all of its LTL brands and closing duplicate terminals. However, the latest phase of operational changes has been rejected by its union workforce.

The two parties had agreed to negotiate all matters simultaneously, including their collective-bargaining agreement that doesn’t expire until March 2024. But Yellow’s recent demands have both groups mired in a heated back-and-forth with no resolution in sight — so much so, that it appears the carrier’s share loss isn’t just tied to the overhaul but now likely includes some customers walking away to avoid hiccups that could arise if labor actions ensue.

Yellow’s revenue per hundredweight, or yield, was down 1.5% y/y in April, followed by a 3.8% decline in May. Yellow did have tough comps on that metric, up roughly 30% in the prior-year periods.

The company didn’t provide any commentary in its update.

Shares of YELL were off 3.1% in after-hours trading Friday after increasing 2.6% in the day’s regular trading session.

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