April 8, 2014 3:15 PM, EDT
Swift Says Weather Will Affect 1Q Earnings
Tom Biery/Trans Pixs

Swift Transportation Co. said it expects its first-quarter earnings to be 11 to 13 cents per share, lower than previously expected, due to severe weather.

The truckload carrier said that the weather affected its overall volume, fuel and maintenance expenses, as well as insurance and claims expenses.

“Given that approximately 60% of Swift's volume is east of the Rockies, the weather impact was substantial and will be discussed in more detail in its letter to stockholders, which will be published on April 24,” Phoenix-based Swift said in a statement.

Despite the weather, Swift said it experienced encouraging trends in several areas.

Utilization, measured by loaded miles per tractor per week, was down for the quarter in its truckload segment from the same period last year, but improved sequentially each month, with March increasing 1% year-over-year.

Growth in Swift’s dedicated segment continued to improve, with an increase of almost 550 trucks, and container on flat car volume in its intermodal segment rose 7.2%, despite the difficulty faced by railroads with severe weather.

“While we are disappointed by the impact of the extraordinary challenges we experienced with the weather this quarter, we are optimistic about the underlying fundamentals we are seeing in the market and the traction we are gaining on our internal initiatives,” Richard Stocking, president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.

Swift Transportation ranks No. 7 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.