Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Patriot Transportation Still Facing Profit Challenges; Real Estate Business Doing Well, but Transportation Division Is Lagging

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Patriot Transportation Still Facing Profit Challenges; Real Estate Business Doing Well, but Transportation Division Is Lagging

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Basch, The Times-Union

After reporting lower earnings in fiscal 2003, Patriot Transportation Holding Inc. is still facing some challenges in boosting profits in its transportation division. But with the economy improving and its real estate business continuing to perform well, company officials are optimistic about higher earnings in 2004.

"We feel better than we did a year ago," President and Chief Executive Officer John Anderson said at Wednesday's annual meeting.

Patriot's earnings for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 fell 19 percent to $4.6 million, due to higher costs in the company's transportation business. Jacksonville-based Patriot operates two trucking subsidiaries, Florida Rock & Tank Lines Inc., which hauls petroleum and other commodities in tank trucks, and SunBelt Transport Inc., which hauls construction materials on flatbed trailers.

Anderson said the trucking companies were able to pass on some of the higher fuel costs last year to its customers, but the businesses were really hurt by higher costs for risk and workers compensation insurance.

The tanker business still faces some challenges from overcapacity in the industry, but the transportation business is already showing improved results in the current fiscal year. …

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