USA Truck reported a net loss of $2.8 million in its second quarter.

The loss equals 35 cents per share and is more than twice as much as the second quarter of 2016 when the company reported a $1.3 million net loss.

USA Truck President and CEO James Reed told stockholders Thursday the organization is “committed to returning this company to profitability and building a business that we believe will stand the test of time.”

The second quarter marked Reed’s first full quarter as CEO. Reed said he and others at USA Truck are “not happy with the consolidated results” but they “believe they show progress in the specific areas that we previously said we would focus.”

For the quarter ended June 30, consolidated operating revenue was $107.4 million compared to $109.9 million for the prior-year period. Base revenue, which excludes fuel surcharge, was $96 million compared to $99.5 million for the 2016 period.

Loss per share for the recent second quarter included $1.3 million, or 10 cents per share, net-of-tax, of expenses relating to new management hires during the second quarter.

Reed commented on the company's focus on building a leadership team.

“We filled out our leadership team during the quarter, with both previously announced and new additions," Reed said in the quarterly report. "Each of these leaders has had an immediate impact on our business in meaningful ways and all have or are in the process of relocating to the Van Buren/Fort Smith area. Each of these leaders personify the type of principled, focused, experienced and results-driven individuals we hope will drive USA Truck to its full potential.”

Reed also noted he is “encouraged by the long-term implications” of several items, including yield improvements.

“We believe our network engineering initiatives have directly led to improvements in our rate per loaded mile, and we continue to work with our customers to improve our network and price positions. Coupled with a more strategically defined network, base revenue per loaded mile increased 5 cents per mile, or 2.9 percent when compared to the prior second quarter. This also represented a 1.3 percent increase over the first three months of 2017.

Base revenue per seated tractor increased $77 per week, or 2.6 percent when compared to the 2016 second quarter and 0.2 percent increase over the first quarter of this year.

Miles per seated tractor per week also increased 22 miles per tractor, or 1.1 percent when compared to the same period in 2016. It was a 0.3 percent decrease over the first quarter of this year.

On the issue of “seated tractors” Reed said the company's focus resulted in a sequential improvement in unseated tractor count to 8 percent. This remains short of the goal of 5 percent.

“We believe we are on track to increase average seated tractor count by 5 to 7 percent over the fourth quarter 2016 average of 1,547, and increasing base revenue per seated tractor per week by 3-5 percent over the full year 2016 average of $2,998,” Reed added.

Demand and resulting load count, revenues and gross margin results began to show improvement in May. The improvements “continued to strengthen through the balance of the second quarter,” the CEO added.

USAT Logistics de Mexico

Also on the brighter side of the report, Reed noted that the sales agent initiative gained momentum and produced its most successful quarter since inception. Continued focus on expense control and increasing productivity — as measured by loads per headcount — yielded a decision to reallocate regional center headcount from underperforming centers to the stronger performing centers. The USAT Logistics de Mexico office in Celaya, Mexico, became fully operational and began generating revenue in the latter part of the second quarter.

USA Truck has an ongoing commitment to reduce costs.

“We exceeded our stated annual cost reduction goals for the year during the second quarter by reducing costs by $3.6 million compared to the second quarter of 2016,” the quarterly report states.