Swift 1Q operating revenues, net earnings up

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Swift Transportation Co. has reported results for the first quarter ended March 31. Operating revenues were $763 million for the first quarter of 2006, up 2.7 percent from $742.6 million in the first quarter of 2005. Net earnings were $37.5 million for the first quarter of 2006, up 92 percent from $19.4 million in the first quarter of 2005.

First quarter 2006 operating revenue includes $99.1 million of fuel surcharge revenue versus $66.4 million for the corresponding quarter of 2005. Excluding this fuel surcharge revenue, operating revenue decreased $12.3, million or 1.8 percent. The decrease was due primarily to the reduction in average linehaul tractors of 1,329 from the first quarter of 2005 to the first quarter of 2006: Most of that reduction occurred in the last two quarters of 2005. The decrease in operating revenue was offset partially by an increase in revenue per loaded mile, which was $1.6126 in the first quarter of 2006 compared to $1.5461 in the first quarter of 2005, an increase of 4.3 percent.

Key operational metrics — rate, utilization and deadhead percentage — all trended positive, resulting in revenue per tractor per week of $2,991, up 4.9 percent from $2,851 in the first quarter of 2005. The company achieved a 91.3 percent operating ratio in the first quarter of 2006.

“The company’s results reflect our disciplined approach to improving performance and the hard work and dedication of a terrific group of drivers and staff,” says Robert W. Cunningham, chief executive officer and president of Phoenix-based Swift. “While we are delighted with this quarter’s progress and results, the process to return our company to profitability levels we once enjoyed is a journey. We caution against projecting the scope of this quarter’s rate of improvement out for subsequent quarters. Our long-term goals as communicated at our February Investor Day remain unchanged. We intend to continue on the course we have set, focused on bottom-line growth through improvement in utilization, rate and cost control.”