Saia adds terminal capacity again; Memphis expansion complete

Saia double on highway

Less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier Saia Inc. (NASDAQ: SAIA) announced after the close of trading on Monday that it has opened an expanded cross-dock terminal in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Johns Creek, Georgia-based carrier noted the new 200-door energy-efficient facility will employ almost 300 workers, a level similar to the terminal that it is replacing. The new location has a maintenance shop with eight bays, high-speed fueling capabilities and can “accommodate a significant expansion over time,” according to the press release.

“The new terminal is 60 percent larger than our previous facility and will allow us to meet the needs of our shippers today and for the foreseeable future,” said EVP of Operations Paul Peck. Our former Memphis terminal had exceeded its capacity. The additional doors at the new facility will mean less freight handling and more efficient shipping for our customers.”

This marks another terminal expansion for the carrier in recent months. The company previously transitioned into larger facilities in Las Vegas as well as Sherman and Wichita Falls, Texas, earlier this year. The carrier plans to move into a larger space in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in November.

“For the last several years, we’ve aggressively expanded our operations in the Northeast. Conversely, we’ve also remained just as committed to investing in our legacy markets and facilities,” said Peck.

Saia embarked on a robust growth initiative in the Northeast in 2017, accelerating those plans when New England Motor Freight closed its doors in early 2019. The company has nearly 20 terminals in the region currently.

As the trucking market has sprung back to life since the early days of the pandemic, more capital has been allocated to LTL infrastructure.

Old Dominion Freight Line (NASDAQ: ODFL) has added nine service centers and roughly 500 doors to its network this year. Forward Air (NASDAQ: FWRD) continues to expand its traditional LTL offering, outside of its normal airport-to-airport service, to some of its existing final-mile terminals. Roadrunner Transportation Systems (OTC: RRTS) has added three new terminals in Chicago, Philadelphia and Riverside, California, as part of its restructuring aimed at becoming a national LTL carrier. YRC Worldwide (NASDAQ: YRCW) expanded its regional next-day service, adding lanes in the mid-South and Texas.

A gauge of manufacturing activity, the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), provided another positive reading in September at 55.4%. A reading above 50% implies expansion in the U.S. manufacturing sector. The index dipped 60 basis points from the August reading but extended its streak of months in expansion territory to four after an April plunge. Manufacturing can represent more than 80% of tonnage for some LTL carriers.

In September, Saia provided an intra-quarter update, reporting that tonnage was modestly positive year-over-year in August after a 3% decline in July. The August result marked the company’s first year-over-year improvement since the pandemic.

Saia will report third-quarter earnings the morning of Oct. 29.

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