For the fourth quarter of 2010, Swift had a net loss of $48.3 million, or $0.66 per share, compared to a net loss of $357.1 million, or $5.94 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Operating revenue for the fourth quarter increased 16.8% to $780.4 million compared to $668.3 million for the corresponding quarter of 2009. Excluding fuel surcharge revenue, net revenue increased to $661.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2010, up 13.8% from the fourth quarter of 2009 for the largest quarterly year over year increase in over five years.
The increase in revenue excluding fuel surcharge reflects a 6.8% increase in weekly trucking revenue per tractor and a 4.4% increase in average tractors available for dispatch for the fourth quarter of 2010 compared to the prior year quarter. The increase in weekly trucking revenue per tractor was primarily due to a 5.1% increase in average trucking revenue per loaded mile during the comparative periods, while loaded miles, or trucking volumes, increased 6.2%.
Intermodal revenue grew 20.6% during the fourth quarter of 2010 compared to the fourth quarter of 2009, further contributing to the growth in revenue excluding fuel surcharge.
"Our pricing is improving as customers align with our strong capacity and quality service, allowing us to improve our mix and recapture some of the rate lost during the recession," said Jerry Moyes, CEO.
Swift's operating ratio improved 280 basis points to 90.2% for the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with 93% for the fourth quarter of 2009. Adjusted Operating Ratio (adjusted to net fuel surcharge revenue against fuel expense and to exclude certain special items) improved 630 basis points to 85 for the fourth quarter of 2010 compared to 91.3% for the fourth quarter of 2009.
The operating ratio improvement is primarily attributable to the increase in pricing and utilization noted above as well as continued improvements in our intermodal business and workers compensation costs. The company also experienced a reduction in depreciation expense due to reductions in the trailer fleet and delayed replacements on a portion of the tractor fleet, resulting in a lower depreciable basis which is also being spread over an extended life. This aging of the tractors also led to an increase in maintenance expense, which partially offset the cost reductions.
For the year ended December 31, 2010, operating revenue increased 13.9% to $2.93 billion compared to $2.57 billion for 2009. Net revenue excluding fuel surcharge revenue was $2.5 billion, up 8.9% over 2009. The increase in revenue excluding fuel surcharge was primarily driven by a 4.7% growth in loaded miles, while average trucking revenue per loaded mile also increased 1.9% year over year, reflecting a sequential quarterly increase throughout 2010 after a sequential quarterly decrease throughout 2009.
Operating ratio improved 320 basis points to 91.7% for 2010 compared to 94.9% for 2009 while its Adjusted Operating Ratio improved 490 basis points to 89% for 2010 compared to 93.9% for 2009.