Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Significant Accounting Policies

Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2020
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Significant Accounting Policies

Note 1. Significant Accounting Policies


We are one of the largest North American less-than-truckload (“LTL”) motor carriers. We provide regional, inter-regional and national LTL services through a single integrated, union-free organization. Our service offerings, which include expedited transportation, are provided through an expansive network of service centers located throughout the continental United States. Through strategic alliances, we also provide LTL services throughout North America. In addition to our core LTL services, we offer a range of value-added services including container drayage, truckload brokerage and supply chain consulting.

We have one operating segment and no single customer exceeds 5% of our revenue. The composition of our revenue is summarized below:




Year Ended December 31,

(In thousands)










LTL services













Other services













Total revenue














Basis of Presentation

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the financial statements and accompanying notes. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

Certain amounts in prior years have been reclassified to conform prior years’ financial statements to the current presentation.

Unless the context requires otherwise, references in these Notes to “Old Dominion,” the “Company,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.

Revenue and Expense Recognition

We recognize revenue based upon when our transportation and related services have been completed in accordance with the bill of lading (“BOL”) contract, our general tariff provisions and contractual agreements with our customers. Generally, our performance obligations begin when we receive a BOL from a customer and are satisfied when we complete the delivery of a shipment and related services. We recognize revenue for our performance obligations under our customer contracts over time, as our customers receive the benefits of our services in accordance with Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2014-09. With respect to services not completed at the end of a reporting period, we use a percentage of completion method to allocate the appropriate revenue to each separate reporting period. Under this method, we develop a factor for each uncompleted shipment by dividing the actual number of days in transit at the end of a reporting period by that shipment’s standard delivery time schedule. This factor is applied to the total revenue for that shipment and revenue is allocated between reporting periods accordingly. Payment terms vary by customer and are short-term in nature.

Expenses are recognized when incurred.

Allowances for Uncollectible Accounts and Revenue Adjustments

We maintain an allowance for uncollectible accounts for estimated losses resulting from the inability of our customers to make required payments. We estimate this allowance by analyzing the aging of our customer receivables, our historical loss experience and other trends and factors affecting the credit risk of our customers, including anticipated changes to future performance. Write-offs occur when we determine an account to be uncollectible and could differ from our allowance estimate as a result of factors such as changes in the overall economic environment or risks surrounding our customers. Additional allowances may be required if the financial condition of our customers were to deteriorate, resulting in an impairment of their ability to make payments. We periodically review the underlying assumptions in our estimate of the allowance for uncollectible accounts to ensure that the allowance reflects the most recent trends and factors.

 We also maintain an allowance for estimated revenue adjustments resulting from future billing corrections, customer allowances, money-back service guarantees and other miscellaneous revenue adjustments. These revenue adjustments are recorded in our revenue from operations. We use historical experience, trends, current information and anticipated changes to future performance to update and evaluate these estimates.

Credit Risk

Financial instruments that potentially subject us to concentrations of credit risk consist principally of customer receivables. We perform initial and ongoing credit evaluations of our customers to minimize credit risk. We generally do not require collateral but may require prepayment of our services under certain circumstances. Credit risk is generally diversified due to the large number of entities comprising our customer base and their dispersion across many different industries and geographic regions.

Cash and Cash Equivalents

We consider cash on hand and deposits in banks along with certificates of deposit and short-term marketable securities with original maturities of three months or less as cash and cash equivalents.

Short-term Investments

The Company’s investments in certificates of deposit, U.S. government securities, and commercial paper with an original maturity of greater than three months have been classified and accounted for as trading securities, and are reported in “Short-term investments” on our Balance Sheet. These investments are measured at fair value each reporting period, with gains or losses recorded in “Non-operating expense (income)” on our Statement of Operations.

Property and Equipment

Property and equipment are stated at cost. Major additions and improvements are capitalized, while maintenance and repairs that do not improve or extend the lives of the respective assets are charged to expense as incurred. We capitalize the cost of tires mounted on purchased revenue equipment as a part of the total equipment cost. Subsequent replacement tires are expensed at the time those tires are placed in service. We assess the realizable value of our long-lived assets and evaluate such assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable.

Depreciation of property and equipment is calculated using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the related assets. The following table provides the estimated useful lives by asset type:




7 to 30 years

Revenue equipment


4 to 15 years

Other equipment


2 to 20 years

Leasehold improvements


Lesser of economic life or life of lease


Depreciation expense was $261.3 million, $253.7 million and $230.4 million for 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.


Claims and Insurance Accruals

We carry a significant amount of insurance with third-party insurance carriers that provides various levels of protection for our risk exposure, including protection in the areas of property, casualty, cyber, management, and group health, with coverage limits and retention and deductible levels that we believe are reasonable given historical claim activity and severity.  We believe that our policy of maintaining self-insured retentions or deductibles under these various insurance programs for a portion of our risks, supported by our safety, claims management and loss prevention programs, is an effective means of managing insurance costs.  We periodically review our risk exposure and insurance coverage applicable to those risks and believe that we maintain sufficient insurance coverage.            

Claims and insurance accruals reflect the estimated cost of claims for cargo loss and damage, BIPD, workers’ compensation, group health and group dental. These accruals include amounts for future claims development and claims incurred but not reported, which are primarily based on historical claims development experience. The related cost for cargo loss and damage and BIPD is charged to “Insurance and claims” on our Statements of Operations, while the related costs for workers’ compensation, group health and group dental are charged to “Salaries, wages and benefits” on our Statements of Operations.

Our liability for claims and insurance totaled $139.6 million and $141.1 million at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The long-term portions of those reserves were $86.5 million and $86.7 million for 2020 and 2019, respectively, which were included in “Other non-current liabilities” on our Balance Sheets.

Share-Based Compensation

We have various share-based compensation plans for our employees and non-employee directors. Our share-based compensation includes awards of phantom stock, restricted stock, and performance-based restricted stock units which are accounted for under ASC Topic 718, Compensation - Stock Compensation. All share-based compensation expense is presented in “Salaries, wages and benefits” for employees and “Miscellaneous expenses, net” for non-employee directors in the accompanying Statements of Operations. Total compensation expense recognized for all share-based compensation awards, including cash settled phantom shares, was $14.3 million, $42.9 million and $10.7 million during 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively. The total tax benefit recognized related to these awards was ($3.8) million, ($10.8) million and ($3.2) million during 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively.

Cash settled phantom stock awards are accounted for as a liability under ASC Topic 718 and changes in the fair value of our liability are recognized as compensation cost over the remaining requisite service period. Changes in the fair value of the liability that occur after the requisite service period are recognized as compensation cost during the period in which the changes occur. We remeasure the liability for the outstanding awards at the end of each reporting period and the compensation cost is based on the change in fair market value for each reporting period.

In December 2019, we modified our employee and director phantom stock plans to permit the settlement of outstanding phantom stock awards in shares of the Company’s common stock in lieu of cash settlement. Awards for plan participants electing to settle their awards in stock were amended and certain vesting provisions were waived. Modified awards are accounted for as equity awards rather than liability awards under ASC Topic 718, as they are settled in common stock rather than cash. The total compensation cost of the amended awards was remeasured on the modification date. Any excess over the previously recognized compensation cost will be recognized on a straight-line basis over the requisite remaining period.

Awards of restricted stock and performance-based restricted stock units are accounted for as equity under ASC Topic 718. We recognize compensation cost, net of estimated forfeitures, for restricted stock awards on a straight-line basis over the requisite service period of each award. Compensation cost for performance-based restricted stock unit awards is recognized using the accelerated attribution method over the requisite service period of each award. At the end of each reporting period, we reassess the probability of achieving performance targets and changes to our initial assessment are reflected in the reporting period in which the change in estimate occurs.


The costs of advertising our services are expensed as incurred and are included in “General supplies and expenses” on our Statements of Operations. Advertising costs charged to expense totaled $19.0 million, $28.3 million and $28.2 million for 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

Common Stock Split

On February 21, 2020, we announced that our Board of Directors approved a three-for-two split of our common stock for shareholders of record as of the close of business on the record date of March 10, 2020. On March 24, 2020, those shareholders received one additional share of common stock for every two shares owned. In lieu of fractional shares, shareholders received a cash payment based on the average of the high and low sales prices of our common stock on the record date.

All references in this report to shares outstanding, weighted average shares outstanding, earnings per share, and dividends per share amounts have been restated retroactively to reflect this stock split. Split-adjusted per-share metrics may not recalculate precisely due to rounding.

Fair Value of Financial Instruments

Fair value is defined as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. The levels of inputs used to measure fair value are:

Level 1 — Quoted prices for identical instruments in active markets;

Level 2 — Quoted prices for similar instruments in active markets; quoted prices for identical or similar instruments in markets that are not active; and model-derived valuations in which all significant inputs are observable in active markets; and

Level 3 — Valuations based on inputs that are unobservable, generally utilizing pricing models or other valuation techniques that reflect management’s judgment and estimates.

Our short-term investments and our long-term debt, including current maturities, are measured at fair value on a recurring basis, and are further described in Note 9. Our other financial securities in current assets and current liabilities approximate their fair value due to the short-term maturities of these instruments.     

Stock Repurchase Program

On May 1, 2020, we announced that our Board of Directors had approved a new two-year stock repurchase program authorizing us to repurchase up to an aggregate of $700.0 million of our outstanding common stock (the “2020 Repurchase Program”). The 2020 Repurchase Program became effective upon the termination of our $350.0 million repurchase program on May 29, 2020, as of which date $21.5 million remained authorized under the prior program. Under the 2020 Repurchase Program, we may repurchase shares from time to time in open market purchases or through privately negotiated transactions. Shares of our common stock repurchased under our repurchase programs are canceled at the time of repurchase and are classified as authorized but unissued shares of our common stock. As of December 31, 2020, we had $555.2 million remaining authorized under the 2020 Repurchase Program.

Comprehensive Income

The Company has no components of other comprehensive income. Accordingly, net income equals comprehensive income for all periods presented in this report.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

In June 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2016-13, “Financial Instruments – Credit Losses – Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Statements” (Topic 326). This ASU modified the methodology for establishing a provision against financial assets, including customer receivables, to include an expected future performance component.  We adopted ASU 2016-13 on January 1, 2020. The adoption did not have a material impact to our financial position, results of operations, or cash flow.