Swift declares strong 3Q earnings growth

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Swift Transportation Co. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, reported its results for the three months and nine months ended Sept. 30. For the third quarter, net earnings were $33.5 million, compared to $12.6 million for the third quarter of 2005. Operating revenue increased 0.3% to $815.0 million compared with $812.9 million last year. Excluding fuel surcharge revenue, net revenue decreased 3.3% to $681.9 million from $704.9 million.

Swift said the decrease in revenue excluding fuel surcharge was due primarily to the reduction in average operating tractors by about 800 units from the third quarter of 2005 to the third quarter of 2006. The impact of this reduction on operating revenue was offset partially by an increase in revenue per loaded mile, which increased 3.5% to $1.6353 from $1.5797.

“Despite a much softer freight environment, Swift continued to benefit from operational improvements and cost control, and our adjusted operating ratio has improved 300 basis points year to date over the comparable 2005 period,” said Robert W. Cunningham, chief executive officer and president of Phoenix-based Swift.

Net earnings for the nine months were $116.5 million, compared to $61.9 million for the same period in 2005. The company’s operating revenue increased 1.6% to $2.39 billion compared to $2.35 billion for the same period in 2005. Net revenue excluding fuel surcharge revenue was $2.03 billion, or 2.8% lower than the corresponding nine-month period in 2005.

The reduction in net revenue excluding fuel surcharge was caused primarily by the decrease in average operating tractors by about 1,200 units for the nine months ended Sept. 30, as compared to the same nine-month period in 2005. The impact of this reduction on operating revenue was offset partially by a 3.9% increase in revenue per loaded mile, which was $1.6247 compared to $1.5640 during the same period a year ago.