FWRD Forward Air

Tom Schmitt CEO
Rebecca Garbrick CFO
Tyler Brown Raymond James
Todd Fowler KeyBanc Capital Markets
Bruce Chan Stifel
Jacob Lacks Wolfe Research
Call transcript
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Thank you for joining Forward Air Corporation’s Second Quarter 2021 Earnings Release Conference Call.

Before we begin, I’d like to point out that both the press release and webcast presentation for this call are accessible on the Investor Relations section of Forward Air’s website at With us this morning are CEO, Tom Schmitt; and CFO, Rebecca Garbrick. By now, you should have received the press release announcing our second quarter 2021 results, which was furnished to the SEC on Form 8-K and on the wire yesterday after the market closed. Please be aware that certain statements in the Company’s earnings press release announcement and on this conference call are making forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements which are based on expectation, intentions and projections regarding the company’s future performance, anticipated events or trends and other matters that are not historical facts. to a and future other such unknown could actual not subject and factors forward-looking are those cause known from to risks, results statements. statements guarantee implied performance of are that expressed These or materially by differ uncertainties and

whether filings the this For information press webcast obligation as And relating of to result I’ll to to our release information, update call. risks Securities events The no and please refer turn over and and additional statements, the future forward-looking factors, undertakes new a Exchange any call earnings Forward Air. CEO company these of to concerning with or Commission now, and Tom presentation otherwise. Schmitt, the

Tom Schmitt

last quarter, March are And argue our We way X those walking, of last one observations if observations a On I you on our by you Tawny, a go first hitting go May, our was you, we in a had our confidence Thank in the and for we call March, if year, are last reinforce beat. we had And of you X then May, double-double. further jogging, all could our all I that to beat stride with back did to back May were and the I gave QX. now crawling first me actually bit year I in running. February, made as and good observations, that to stride in the good in call. said hitting morning

QX. now have We beat a stronger in

margin have growth. since a analysts and our of time out, as double-double, double-digit a first the revenue company one did we double-digit XXXX, as fact, In pointed

ramp the month That’s more more momentum. we of quarter. the entry We had history into never line, super month second of our revenue, in ever actually a the had operating we finished The being income. Top our company. bottom the third observation line, best June strong with quarter is never

observation by is very disciplined we fourth it is We also around We keep ultimately. do good customers’ that. actually keep us around by very smoothly pricing. accessorial weight, being that distance, our third we The good very, them, fine-tuning for observation for very, can move doing The so freight organic and surgical growth. in economically, can

In with up week and business fact, always top worthwhile for LTL new remember, south. more And trading partners the point in third going to our Montreal. as are the and X last do about location on addition to Vancouver, Canada, us we have we talked opening Both north trading I it’s partners. of to our a podium that X north, for them in Toronto up our said we’re [indiscernible] access

Intermodal currently shipment. me organic LTL than have we We fifth more the look And domestically, have gives And with will We confidence then be doing at higher when inorganic we had per right is observation record in actually be I acquisitions weight in Hall time X making here acquisition in J&P Final LTL time or buy is growth. more about Last the too. first We will just talked There an years the core we didn’t growth, weight never per that you them. bought business. Mile. actually around shipment in for our now. tuck-in Express

Commercially, time freight be any to we think kind going that on forward. a will we We going move of are even when more with surgical customers show on running too runner’s and actually are without And damages. their high get ensuring running. you our you’re that I

QX mostly had I on will that We and still that delivered our in We give of freight smoothly and business XXXX the events time, on will running us are mentioned, now. bringing stacking, our that safe without with customers be damage. shape as they through system palletization, will And working dimensional super-focused we our on see be in we’re be and back. are a hand-in-hand some that focus

in take to welcome topic, around for up make running quarters, to consideration And In going Eagle Home capital. I’m fact, to of a now, and Association on forget, Sunday, San just National Delivery machine customers, some a quarter definitely going actually our and again, of of have and machine look. Rebecca we M&A, we an inside through we’re going and what to Project our initiative did Eye, to LTL walls questions advantage here, we see take will definitely before place couple of have operations in-person us bit where taking more some in open forward. our say back our enhancement where And terminals. going Diego, to inside thoughtful in organically, in a to running, meet the we That the taken conference that XX that let’s a how brand-new actually We going our fresh event, allocation with we earnings fresh we called going out here, on days obviously, XXXX. proven terminals I underway actually that capital very teammates fully months, Garbrick, so at our as improvement our to CFO, XX keep not LTL in our you third we little to last the also pace do it call, as answers. I’m network, the us next over expanding. the actually it’s quarter, we from of profit a the in more look And very heading we coming help and added from is having those several route indeed. also. more some saw allocate so now into we the actually and X an we keep how core Operationally, In keep partner fourth release, we’re going expect the operational thoughts my our need

you, that, over with So to Rebecca.

Rebecca Garbrick

I’m I to be I’m you release, Thanks, some of results. our today, in not Great. read bigger let like to forward repeat so allocation. second playing to our driving capital you’ve a and Air. going comments on I Tom offer role Forward growth you at me Instead, Tom. quarter our happy profitable mentioned, all look with solid earnings know

unchanged. allocation overall philosophy Our remains capital

cover our We our needs, we which complete flow cash will our remain medium-term use we to CapEx after the expect over Columbus will investments. modest

be our see opportunities, increase will we X Hall our the time, look Our continue our flow with free years, In will increase over did past we times. can cash as we we recently that ensure earnings. would dividend J&P have support which M&A with we dividend, to our commensurate in When the raised to realized acquisition. X these

million year As J&P modeling our about rate revenue EBITDA Hall’s past per note, repurchased contribution the contribution about X purposes, year-to-date, $X.X of your a side for year. million be shareholders. $XXX be million $XX we Any excess roughly per to $XX we’ve we’ve run In flow rate and repurchased to expect run shares. shares. over million cash be returned years, will to And of

Tawny continue the will in back expect And We turn our XXXX in for open beyond, repurchases I believe to to Q&A. it and since that, prospects. our to with growth line we


Raymond with first question Tyler from the Brown comes Our Instructions] James. of line [Operator

Tyler Brown

the back sequential congrats and at Rebecca, on I a guidance to new on want come the look basis. position. just

X. $XX So think maybe maybe to I EBIT, looking but it, you’re my on kind for be sequentially the QX And charge. of to be on slightly, revenues I’m midpoint, you’re that so decrease again, even slight this But is call looking math, up in excluding a may million, wrong. I talking for $X.XX

revenue be case? that way off? would would EBIT cause is A, So to there the pressure B, maybe And the rise or slightly my fall to incremental and sequentially is that what math

Tom Schmitt

Well, pretty you’re with Tyler. good math,

us go XXXX, year math. QX-QX, because a XXXX, let’s if compete So of year. look to be and with, and What our math bit that you you we EPS QX Typically, challenged it’s is between the back last On $X.XX decline tends slower. other to put have average, you many to tend not see strongest quarter. $X.XX QX. QX your typically last a second we is bit at QX when aside the transports with

what typically we historically, pound of same pound pace level at of kind that’s So see. for and the we what even when run performance,

going, a than and typically have expect decline we see QX we because momentum QX. of we expect We actually less between good

we even expense. enhancement in X, be look you for $X.XX, to One, $X.XX X an if $X.XX, QX. roughly probably $X initiative, when So short-term million and so speaking, operational we QX, guide not things. actually have that’s at has is, Which would for $X.XX. frankly, That do which

so. so lot onetime fresh add inside look going terminals, to of rerouting. perspective, It’s if confident. a look at that from see could I’m a you a back to payoff you choose very do could, very, that, fresh We’re our a you But from

are and when thing fair. any got the out country many unfortunately, year same second people came That’s it of reality was teammates was The wiped that our many at Forward we is the case of Air. the was the for type actually associates what, to here last and across incentive. And doing

for now for our incentive short-term profit-sharing right over-accruing teammates. are We our

not into in that, you’re good decline. see to a EPS. decline a paper, the place, of in if would actually average, did not a see very, our of to the again, a is And see on if and that not things already of even $X.XX very on $X.XX $X.XX mentioned, Some for just investment see you take the QX, I X you to power you QX QX If over-accrual kind $X.XX. typical not which, actually from year, also place, QX. operational about did This even take going wouldn’t

this So time. high is unusually the momentum actually

Tyler Brown

That’s Okay. helpful. very

Tom Schmitt

sense? make that Does

Tyler Brown

Yes, fall things there’s like Yes, I sequentially. does. normally. does sequentially absolutely. kind know it some And of It sounds incremental just it

back. want that’s helpful. But I to So very do come

was capacity out there change peak And I to think your me kind the surcharges. that one to bulletin on peak a ‘XX thing season. stood So about of was website, out a

Truck tying guys the internet are Load index. you think I Truckstop kind to those of to

I you So this PT surmise bit little through And help a change? about your would hedge just can peak? talk this

Tom Schmitt

and what talked Yes. this before. I about we’re actually Tyler, mean, so I we even think doing,

that safe have see to of have safe our customers. top-quality When is places. means the we we commitments keeping talk our the to investments there. #X our in to Job have and You about road, lot. our keeping right for them people use keep and customers, to teammates keep the Job me the lots on #X us have word surgical is to drivers, commitments we

lot locations in our those what making higher a tied drivers, safely, go of commitments that can One more to is now, these customers, than to of them of economically. many the for them We to that. terms us we destinations. see for do for pay it’s runs keep way them, doing in find where outbound collaborate there. There’s because to bypass need we volumes pay to and then can places good basically sure from even surcharges about extra to keep locations be we’re Because we specific X locations of more it can other good Right reasons talk us. destination we for that. more we also somehow like our we to in So for doing for it’s them with we a

we nonprofit. do a not second and The when we’re time is, that, cannot thing last if I checked,

So and sure do can extra make recover we the cents dollars to extra cost we our to that actually pay drivers. the so actually need we

reason no there -- any well, actually is cost very flip an extra for if where surcharge. at surcharge we So peak is side business look surgical very incurring, charging The if be that congestion, also there’s perspective, to yes, not then where destination a are manage we location. be our should you we shouldn’t us incremental pay is incur our if from And locations there it no surgical. by

that’s bit actually a were more So than why we precise, surcharges bit historically. with a surgical those are we more

Tyler Brown

that kind was helpful. kind so just implied Okay, just QX? curious implied event clarification. from I’m then an QX there and sounded But what’s maybe like a the there that ‘XX last Or revenue, there But the of event. more -- type of that’s in perspective. it on pickup guidance is in of And one is a

Tom Schmitt


you hold will in it me. against probably So I -- store and and your memory know that

We if QX, that going would that on mentioned help guidance. So in of I’m put we our That’s It’s the back Sunday. some real. events business anything for to there see happening. us really. coming conference to in beat didn’t actually I

in the but of the that to that around QX country, is and levels seeing happening going not Some we’re be at in XXXX.

So the that Any any be we we is going to of that put did get guidance. upside not QX. into to

Tyler Brown

Okay. Very, very helpful.


question comes Todd next the Our Capital KeyBanc from of Markets. Fowler line with

Todd Fowler

a lot ask of difference XX. the there’s pure-play Mile, and Freight. Final on still And quarter. Obviously, but within be to I I still congratulations. going going things wanted the a with that And good and maybe the know OR I math, to Expedited LTLs, Great. is Rebecca, than to some the little probably Tyler’s third margins that mix Truckload the XX bit in of you’re think above on. above

as the the what’s So perspective Expedited and Freight? XXs environment tonnage we OR into about environment, think take in or the what’s your yield expectation back to an move it from Tom,

Tom Schmitt

we’re and The lot thing actually Final main better also the very going a tightly. kind so LTL. fleet units of at business. and we route where very, business there core together of with Again, with locations there’s obviously, be move-out recruit closely move-back. co-sharing is, truckload way X an the may is unit sister Expedited for one we LTL keep LTL that LTL collaborating how TL, to of the our Mile, getting and Freight, between we there’s look Truckload

at margins and Freight in unit. call out make seen And if ORs. contribution we we do they or from separately looked but have that Todd, by one said LTL, they that it inside just their or did are segment, sure we April it have Freight of So I really putting having kind in margins language, we at actually those look the we actually parts XX-XX% Expedited that seen that that, allocated one Expedited March your in properly, making cost business of XX of all each

possible. So it’s we know

a this I better, to it is worse. get expect seen possible. quarter, double-double have business also our We not

a next clear now I in expect lead now the and Freight, north. already. are right looking Expedited company entire margin that in So to to for the the way And year, XX% seeing close second was towards in that year to stating XX expect to an clearly if that for now. quarters, likely as at happen, to you’re right LTL a right I that double-double like XX% months, quarter we OR. I see most go pretty number has

Todd Fowler

Yes. Okay, got it.

of Can sense Okay. That up to just for are strong how how makes a think quarter, X%, core kind higher see in happening? sense, the right close core of happening pricing, do accessorials your yields you’re of out surcharges outside with get to compensated as X%. And the what’s you’re you in what ex-fuel, and strip to and almost with the maybe some me, you follow-up of that here pricing you’re we give Or about the experiencing for doing a Tom. of then fuel kind if very business costs that able us now?

Tom Schmitt

had and Dominion are better the time. if It’s -- some been in put way a following way upside. of that’s Pricing first, best others X catch-up to over last again, our And a the us never, us that, after I rails been. disciplined. LTL included, the company, had I the designed the has we better as the companies, in better the in we lockstep. we and a X quarter. before, been past, place We decades. I still February, game, GRI never by has of see The look fast-follower Saia some I And that players, that do in can have I we ever place in getting in mentioned very continue. rate I get about this we’re it better, why and take expect first of are overall, the frankly, at Old of we the leading think, talked this parcel if some look and pricing, being and peers, kind is than executed at or

to at next have were got majority February, X% customer when in very we that exceptions So were what they take nominal I contractual. There a our expect had time. year rates the we be we GRI the and were this few that implemented. of And vast very, exemptions and GRI,

safe we to that customer be into to expect pricing of best whatever those. kind Todd, very XXXX. place happen, to including focused throughout our in safety I we us in asking, of to levels; we and year make pricing and customer and you’re pricing to that continue whatever that sure doing. to on that make expect keep XXXX environment, pricing environment in the on commitments. investments I we put our are tight. commitments, to continue need And keep our we’re if need actually pricing So teammates And space, a expect I for We companies, keep saw disciplined. And be type the pricing and we the

Todd Fowler

sense, Tom. That makes Yes.

some trying maybe of of revenue hundredweight. core within of I’m and strip if It the mix put is level profile kind the the to you per guess for the the changes in. like out that proxy the I GRI sounds pricing now So impacts right best

we’re kind sales if kind way number about of in mid-to-high single the about of right so think And to it? Is now. that trying that right to digits think a same-store

Tom Schmitt

exactly That’s right.


the Our with line question comes of Bruce Chan from next Stifel.

Bruce Chan

Is per LTL of to wondering side? Tom, now. Is What’s it’s mentioned happening And can if you you for weight due that there selection that ever us. right with is industrial little that the a bit before kind intentional down overflow? been on higher that kind freight that TL number? I’m of weight-per-shipment shipment than break

Tom Schmitt

second the of the you X mostly it’s kind that of Bruce, pieces suggested.

-- So better as this tools what and getting goes us, back we’re a company, with processes. to doing and

by making It’s the of Schara, a Canada. of hundreds potential our the We has cycles, go example, years actually equipment. size. that do sure leader, the an commercial see, we the the in an shipment And across been extremely a Scott we company the SIC thousands per of place version by look in codes: on shippers put go working the ago. of specific medical is surgically side, version And tends commercial spare basically So okay, and States cycles code. sales CRM. the And as our couple at then density United adapted call and on industrial, of team in overemphasize sales we be over following SIC time, to with automotive, then higher we we parts then and what weight those. we

be than you higher today equipment years we do versus on, is X So many used it or X to look companies medical years number ago. now if ago, actually call at that how exponentially X

selecting of freight literally that reliability, premium the fits it that and profile picking have service, So is faster high the no also requirements. the typically shippers density weight and requirements, damage, fits but

that codes as it’s through Chicago obvious So were can very through again, And think in you -- typically a Columbus When you medical and heavier can the equipment. that again, you perfect just premium past, shipments. what what you when certain through along know come know we’re I Bruce, SIC you what medical of it’s then, like. of. codes, And look I and that’s more weeks that’s they walked -- walked I ago, you exactly SIC the the what freight last are couple MRI, crated selecting. walk then And we those at we want, equipment look did

Bruce Chan

maybe great just a follow-up. color. That’s And

in focus you’ve more the more in about a customer LTL. talked You about about past spoken validating disciplined getting of freight. dimensional And

the the terminals. side, So investing either in whether process side you re-weighs dimensionalizers you’re on maybe give at comments doing around that’s investment more or or on could just what doing some if

helpful. be would that really think I

Tom Schmitt


Eye outcome Project more definitely expect importance actually to of of re-weighing. we’re do the the what So doing very equipment to you And just I also described the Eagle the help that. our reinforce dimensionalizing, of at end,

-- a what from actually our we weight from saying moving, weight-wise So perspective, that, moving a we and perspective. customers we’re from in dimension are a fact, are and is what

a And happening. is are disciplined. overall getting super that absolutely, freight perspective, So we from

because over years, operating worked kayaks, enforcing of last with actually Some our we do put several customers, of customers, system. end day, do. the good At a we not we our for actually the guidelines clogs accept And and up we’re a for our it’s now, place in to the it accepted things that we is except ago. not thing years the the not say good us this kayaks. either for Actually, thing actually

actually of us with that’s and good move. the to up rely else we’re for and quality everything not out good clogging small piece movements helping got freight us one them it’s of that for for So them they

a of And there’s are in so bit time a We rules. as of line. and enforcing of those actually September, August scaling some little

accept We will kayaks. not

palletization, We you we I your way secure you will treadmill of in not When accept perfectly have Forward with enforce it shape, you odds actually high, Air. equipment when don’t getting to sensitive rugs undamaged in the our expect freight like system. enforce move stacking. you the X stacked the We get

When So work may there’s is like a keep our the because it rules and a taste customer by it lot our us make always their we’re they those but things, better, customers commitments, talking And of sensitive customers. enforcing not we we collaboration on about. good, ours, with does with this medicine. bit them keep

enforce shipments palletization, the system next will us rugs. X strictly no X will over what is unclogging on-time most sure it at throughout our because goods goods flow not you the do they their to what level our to and their us customers system. elevated than destination no longer are to the on And of rely kayaks, So entire smoother, this make for they’re undamaged us for see an dimensions and we foot, seeing and weeks, today, can get their making already

Bruce Chan

you and start out lot those what final a sense, top mile here. you of of final of and LTL strategy. mile your think your maybe a kind about then to then conflict locations with Is Okay. you that traditional makes When growth there follow-up integrate on locations? just there, especially final laid you lay any That as just

Tom Schmitt

capacity. there If company need are to we more that years intend we great for double-double need to we the will come is It’s be, a obviously we many additional do point. be for and And I use capacity. a those we mean, capacity to pointed capacity. small more of up for that’s mile final obviously if locations using Bruce, appliances need our find our out, and a the high-value us hold business, for reinforces especially, you to as that fraction

what So that in greater to we was with what’s our Atlanta an the the and for metro Southeast for follow. going did just getting additional basically few when -- months Hall a in LTL area appetizer did market, business ago, we J&P Georgia capacity

even will But We also be of year. be terminals. organic that. And in opening Empire terminals. only one to to going terminal ways, single probably XX year. Last are it do X every now more And terminals next year, our finding XX I’m appetite that This where J&P addition more Hall our to is caused Halls. Inland system. which be J&P LTL more we great X. might keep looking our Terminal, opened than independent it inorganic for be contractors, Halls, will last creative more of opening top ways kind year year, Fontana, week be actually It by had we up expansion that. J&P to is we than ICs, There more capacity, will could X for appetizer we But bigger type find what to in of find the also. it next that, not


the comes with from Our line of Wolfe next Group Scott question Research.

Jacob Lacks

Scott.. on Jake is for This

you of rail What business? So Intermodal seeing been the supply clearly there’s impact chain. ocean your congestion from disruptions on and are a port lot on

Tom Schmitt

not starts the is this And It It’s creating choppiness. chain it’s issue. out, supply actually rail. with frankly, LTLs. industry is, as a And mean, this just I pointed Jake, you

even had this, the XX that drivers places, minutes these talked destination talked about waiting of think, the when we lot kind dock. up ships of picking to ago I to outside several hundred so in things. like places, just L.A. we go port we about of congested more what pay past, So A

real. choppiness that come. more many very of we for see that All months is I expect to fully that

the this It how difficult in know So of for of ports. we be could congested ships those unloaded. kind will know the don’t when two delay. months’ exactly could capacities is delay. because week’s be a don’t be It railroads about We business, those our Intermodal

where actually could of time waiting in its gets you rail to take into for extent, the the Midwest were country that some actually the So get is example by a makes by it argue cases, the it off helps there’s rail that it Because for some over part where, months. small actually drayage time and the freight an a us. then the as premium frankly, with into way weeks, ship, actually, yard the we warehouse, drayage into and days, the business, Intermodal they it it

Our reliably, safely willing very we we plausible some more for all than every cases. days, very, up customers speed, freight are certain weeks is taken months the actually that maximum that to waited they that -- slack to again, make Because, have at and get in them.

not add premium But that helps our actually all a slight upgrade. paid push And us So sitting a seeing to support tiny in for over things, into end, it here the at a in with Atlanta. significant. is there’s was we the-next the bigger choppiness had will of go. stop-and because to back example, bit continue I’m us there that. back scheme so in A fairness in very stop-and-go We in months, to much here several that the office be the system Rebecca

a We’re building out the bit. operations the side of little building

And so back place. there’s pushed twice a renovation taking We now. it

on had the We’re here of start something as in chain actually. part week, June. of March push We almost because in supply time and to materials. then certain We it not were supposed to was construction a the back be starting in times next to couple

pretty you and odds to So to liked of literally is Jake, having -- wait when last including high. of any or longer are this refrigerator, you one us, then the you dishwasher you than ordered your

least rest Because like keeping business. this that times us in not having we of lot ends a those of and one delivery commitments. longer. is that the to whatever conversation what any or that the of something or conversation cooled that So stop-and-go fridge this have now. us have normalized. X personally, appreciates, for is to probably have over same us year it even we one conversation even year, commitments when same is and this our it any does us happens now, with choppiness is customers it will helpful overall, our of from Parts actually more, takes bike us the the because appreciate slipping to have But we’ll being, going around into months we My show when and this up When weeks months of from a come wait we’re XXXX. now, of real. that of that stay for us, the Peloton somewhat It’s sense not down probably right

Jacob Lacks

given it. some bit Got where comes targets would you should you’ve about your sort the then we fit helpful margin Expedited around as pretty on Could online? that, different of a your into speak the segments events -- business how of the business. around that think And margins

Tom Schmitt


and range and of So of LTL, of, thinking for without whether talked probably kind they March ever. operational said kind you’re pound which whatever ever, kind make variable initiatives than which was positive so about actually, it’s any worked pound business like I LTL up April even that year or distraction, and compensation paid run what is in distraction, year our a we than improvement and when of accruing for less a got in teammates where last lost they to some for more of

we’re strip we the talking business is the business amongst all that events we to very about, LTL liability, for of XX% that So bluntly need high put most margins. The if LTL out, you have. because seen have it profitable -- take

for And north So is concert I Taylor moves about the I’d of. business. If across zero country. if think the a.m. XX% that for concert Swift That on proverbial X:XX equipment the use I there’s reason be be not slack. of that mean, will disappointed. day the -- daughter average, look that. there’s and by has no a the there your your There’s to very it’s there, son or events


that That webcast after Earnings shortly the Forward call. Forward Quarter Air’s Second this Please on Relations Investor this Air’s Conference, concludes will at Call. website XXXX available of remember section be

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