Swift Transportation turned in operating revenue of $856.8 million during the first three months of the year, a result the company is touting as record first quarter revenue.
Strong operational performance contributed to Swift’s successful quarter. In truckload, loaded miles per truck per week ramped up by 3.2 percent, year over year, and total loaded miles for the truckload and dedicated segments rose by 1 percent. Officials are also expanding the company’s intermodal segment, which experienced a 20.8-percent increase on container on flat volumes. Though this represented a big improvement, the segment remains unprofitable.
Challenges for Swift included poor first-quarter weather and the loss of an operating day due to Easter’s presence in the first quarter this year.
“Despite the typical seasonal patterns in the first quarter, combined with a difficult year-over-year weather comparison and a reduction in business days, we are pleased with the results our organization has been able to deliver this quarter,” Swift officials wrote in a letter to investors. “Our key trucking metrics are trending favorably, and we have seen revenue growth in each of our operating segments.”
Fuel prices continued to wreck havoc on the bottom line, but while Swift experienced rising prices in the first two months of the quarter, a steep decline in pricing last month nearly made up for earlier losses.
Analysts at Stifel Nicolaus see these numbers as signs of a healthy company. The company’s dedicated segment showed the most progress, the analysts noted, while the truckload arm seemed flat last quarter. They said that Swift does, however, continue to pay down debt faster than anticipated. The company eliminated $56 million in debt last quarter, having only initially promised a reduction of between $50 million and $100 million per year. - Jon Ross