Severe weather is being blamed for another downturn in profits by one of the nation’s largest trucking companies during the first quarter of the year.
Nebraska-based Werner Enterprises reports net income during the period fell 18% to $14.3 million from $17.5 a year earlier, while earning per share declined to 20 cents from 24 cents.
For the period revenue was unchanged at $492 million.
First quarter 2014 freight demand (as measured by the daily morning ratio of loads to trucks in the company one-way truckload network) showed the strongest first quarter performance in 10 years, according to the company.
“A combination of several factors contributed to the demand strength including: the early timing of the 2014 Chinese New Year; relatively lean retail customer inventory levels following the fourth quarter 2013 holiday season; multiple severe winter storms that created a backlog of truckload freight shipments and also caused some severely delayed intermodal freight shipments to shift to truckload; the preamble of a strong December 2013 freight market and a tightening of truck capacity due to increasing trucking company failures, an extremely challenging driver market, expensive new trucks and increasing federal safety regulations,” Werner said in a statement.
Average revenues per total mile, net of fuel surcharge, rose 3.1% in first quarter 2014 compared to first quarter 2013.
Over the past few days a handful of other publically-held trucking companies have released financials showing a decline in first quarter profits due to intense snow and record cold last winter, despite some having increases in revenue
Werner is primarily a truckload provider, but offers several other services including: temperature-controlled, flatbed, expedited freight management, truck brokerage, intermodal, and international services.
More details about the company financial performance and its outlook on trucking are on the Werner Enterprises website.