Knight-Swift Reports Profit, Revenue Rise in First Quarter

Knight-Swift trucks
Knight-Swift posted earnings of $129.8 million in the first quarter compared with $65.4 million in the first three months of 2020. (Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc.)

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Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc. saw year-over-year improvements for earnings and revenue  during the first quarter, the truckload carrier reported April 21.

The Phoenix-based fleet posted net income of $129.8 million, or 77 cents a diluted share, for the three months ending March 31. That compared with $65.4 million, 38 cents, during the same time the previous year. Total revenue increased by 8.7% to $1.22 billion from $1.12 billion.

Knight-Swift reported that the results were driven by strong performances across all segments. Despite bad weather toward the beginning of the quarter and driver-sourcing challenges, the company still was able to grow each division.

Q1 Segment Breakdown

• Trucking reported revenue increased 6.3% to $872.8 million from $821.1 million during the same time last year. Operating income rose 47.7% to $158.5 million from $107.3 million during the prior year. The segment includes irregular route, dedicated, refrigerated, expedited, flatbed and cross-border operations.

The results were driven by rate improvements that partially were offset by an increase in driver-related sourcing and other expenses, and a 7.3% decline in miles per tractor due to inclement weather and an increase in unseated tractors. Average revenue per tractor increased by 7.7% as a result of a 16.1% increase in revenue per loaded mile.

• Logistics reported revenue increased 50.8% to $115.7 million compared with $76.8 million during the first quarter of 2020. Operating income increased 103.7% to $7.58 million from $3.72 million.

Beat the Street

Zacks Consensus Estimate: 70 cents per share and quarterly revenue of $1.19 billion.

Actual: 77 cents per share and quarterly revenue of $1.22 billion.

The results primarily were driven by brokerage revenue per load increasing by 43% and load volumes growing by 5.4%. Knight-Swift introduced its digital capacity-matching Select platform in 2020. During the first quarter, approximately 4,500 carriers were matched with loads through the platform. That represents 20% of brokerage load volume.

• Intermodal reported revenue climbed 13.1% to $107 million from $94.6 million. Operating income increased 226.3% to $3.5 million from an operating loss of $2.7 million.

Knight-Swift noted in the earnings report that year-over-year operating results within the intermodal segment improved toward the end of the quarter despite weather and service disruptions. This resulted in revenue per load increasing 10.2% and load counts increasing 2.6%.

Knight-Swift Transportation operates a fleet of about 19,000 tractors and 58,000 trailers, and employs 24,000 people. The company provides truckload and logistics services throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Knight-Swift ranks No. 7 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

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