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ABF Freight System, Inc. Announces Price Increase

FORT SMITH, Ark., Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- ABF Freight System, Inc. (ABF) announced today that it will implement a general increase in its freight rates effective January 1, 1997. Overall, charges will increase by about 5.5 percent, although the effect on specific shipments will vary. In its first revision since 1992, the absolute minimum charge will be increased by 4.8% to $48.90. ABF's previous general increase was effective on January 1, 1996.

David E. Stubblefield, President and Chief Executive Officer of ABF, noted, "Our rate adjustment is conditioned on the overall increase in costs, including labor and fringe, and the need to improve the paper-thin margins in our industry. Over the past twelve months, ABF has completed an extensive terminal realignment that has made a good distribution network even better. Through our company-wide re-engineering effort, we have eliminated $1.3 million in monthly overhead and more in direct costs, while improving our service levels. Nevertheless, profitability remains unacceptably low for ABF and for its principal competitors, both national and regional, union and non- union. Our current margins are insufficient for us to make continuous improvements in the consistent and responsive service that our customers need.

"As we have committed in the past, in the absence of unusual circumstances, I do not expect another general rate revision during 1997. We know that rate changes affect the business of our customers, and we want our customers to have predictable costs.

"Notably, our new rates are not based upon the dramatic increase in fuel costs. We have been gratified by the overwhelming favorable response to our fuel surcharge, which we finally adopted on September 3. We do not believe that it would be fair to build these historically high fuel prices into our base rates. We look forward to the decline in our fuel costs to a level that will make the fuel surcharge inactive."

ABF, with expected 1996 revenue of over $1.1 billion, is the largest subsidiary of Arkansas Best Corporation (Nasdaq: ABFS). ABF is one of the nation's largest LTL motor carriers with service to all fifty states, plus Mexico, Puerto Rico, Canada and beyond.

SOURCE ABF Freight System, Inc.
 -0- 11/27/96

/CONTACT: Mr. Randall Loyd, Arkansas Best Corporation, 501-785-6200/


CO: ABF Freight System, Inc.; Arkansas Best Corporation ST: Arkansas IN: TRN SU:

CS -- ATW013 -- 4688 11/27/96 11:55 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 27, 1996
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