Higher truckload pricing helped Swift Transportation nearly double its first quarter profit from a year earlier, raising net income to $6.2 million on $826.9 million in revenue.
The $3.3 billion truckload giant’s rates improved 3.5 percent year-over-year in the quarter, in line with Swift’s forecast for a 3 to 4 percent increase in 2012 pricing.
“Expansion in intermodal and pricing improvements in the trucking business were the primary growth drivers,” the company said in a letter to investors Friday.
Trucking revenue, excluding fuel surcharges, increased 4.1 percent from a year earlier to $577.6 million. Weekly revenue per tractor was up 6.7 percent at $3,055.
Loaded miles per truck increased 3.1 percent, and deadhead or empty miles dropped to 11.9 percent of total mileage as Swift cut nearly 600 tractors from its fleet. “This was a planned reduction to coincide with the soft seasonal demand patterns we traditionally experience in the first quarter,” Swift said in its letter to investors.
In its intermodal business, Swift increased trailer-on-flatcar revenue 130.8 percent year-over-year after removing unprofitable lanes and adding more profitable freight.
Revenue from the container-on-flatcar segment, Swift’s larger intermodal business, increased 36.1 percent. Combined, the COFC and TOFC revenue totaled about $52 million.