Kirby Corporation (NYSE: KEX) has reported net earnings for the third quarter ended September 30, 2019 of $48.0 million, or $0.80 per share, compared with earnings of $41.8 million, or $0.70 per share, for the 2018 third quarter. Consolidated revenues for the 2019 third quarter were $666.8 million compared with $704.8 million reported for the 2018 third quarter.
President and CEO David Grzebinski commented, “During the third quarter, our marine transportation business delivered strong results with significant sequential and year-on-year improvement in profitability. In distribution and services, activity continued to decline as a result of the ongoing cyclical downturn in the oilfield markets and our customers’ focus on near-term cash flow. Our overall third quarter improved year-on-year, led by favorable results in marine transportation reflecting our enhanced earnings power from our recent investments and acquisitions.
“In inland marine transportation, our financial results meaningfully improved as flood waters receded and operating conditions were better. Favorable operating conditions resulted in a 31% reduction in delay days as compared to the 2019 second quarter, which led to efficiencies across our fleet and reduced operating expenses. Customer demand and our barge utilization remained strong during the quarter, and term contracts continued to renew higher. Ultimately, the improvement in operating efficiencies, reduced costs and higher pricing led to inland operating margins that touched 20% during the quarter.
“Coastal marine transportation also provided improved financial results with gains in revenue and operating income. During the quarter, market conditions were favorable, and our barge utilization was stable in the mid-80% range. Our efforts to modernize and increase the efficiencies of the fleet during the downturn, including the purchase of a new articulated tank barge unit (“ATB”), construction of new coastal tugboats, and the retirement of aging equipment, are showing benefits and contributing to better reliability and lower costs. Overall, coastal operating margins were in the high single digits during the third quarter.
“In distribution and services, continued weak activity and spending in the oilfield impacted our oil and gas related businesses throughout the third quarter. During the quarter, we experienced very little activity in our pressure pumping manufacturing and remanufacturing businesses, as well as lower demand for equipment, parts and service sales in our oil and gas related distribution businesses. As a result, we aggressively implemented additional workforce reductions and other cost saving initiatives.”