Weaker than expected freight demand in the fourth quarter last year drove down Covenant Transportation’s earnings. The company estimates a five- to 10-cent loss per share as a result.

“The main factor affecting the last quarter was the lack of the normal peak shipping season,” said David Parker, Chattanooga, TN-based Covenant’s chairman & CEO.

“Though our consolidated freight revenue, excluding fuel surcharge revenue, is expected to be up approximately 7% versus the fourth quarter of 2005 … we expect miles per tractor to be down around 3% versus the same quarter last year,” he added. “Freight revenue per tractor per week is expected to be down approximately 5% versus the fourth quarter of 2005. Additionally, we expect our after-tax cost per mile to increase approximately 4% as well.”