SAIA, Inc. (NYSE:SAIA) is a multi-regional trucking company that ships goods for the retail, chemical and manufacturing industries. As a less-than-truckload (LTL) shipper, Saia consolidates freight from several customers in one trailer-load. Compared to truckload shippers who contract an entire trailer-load to a single client, LTL companies need broad networks of pickup and delivery service centers, as well as larger “breakbulk” facilities where shipments are consolidated and separated. SAIAalso need complex IT systems in order to track freight status information. The asset-intensive nature of the LTL business provides a barrier to entry for new firms. SAIA operates in 34 states, mostly in the south, southwest, midwest, and west coast. As of December 31, 2009, Saia Motor Freight operated a network comprised of 147 service facilities.

Key industry metrics include revenue per hundredweight, which measures the revenue a company earns per hundred pounds of goods transported, total tonnage per year, and number of shipments per year. In 2009, Saia’s revenue per hundredweight was $11.42, total tonnage was 3.5 million tons, and total number of shipments was 6.4 million[1].

As a transportation company, Saia’s earnings are closely tied to the overall health of the economy. The firm’s primary customers are in retail and manufacturing, two cyclical industries. Another concern is volatile fuel prices. Another challenge Saia will need to contend with is the entry of shipping giants FedEx and UPS into the LTL business. These firms bring extensive resources and strong brand names into the LTL market.

Business Overview

Saia operates as a single business segment with one subsidiary, Saia Motor Freight. The firm was organized in 2000 as a subsidiary of YRC Worldwide (YRCW) (another LTL shipper), and became an independent company in the fall of 2002. Saia provides its trucking services in 34 states in the South, West, Midwest, and Pacific Northwest. The company’s primary focus is on regional (500 miles or less) and interregional (between 500 and 1,000 miles) lanes, and shipments weighing between 100 and 10,000 pounds. At the end of 2009, Saia’s freight network consisted of 147 service facilities.

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  1. SAIA 10-K 2009 Item 7 Pg. 21
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