Photo: Evan Lockridge

Photo: Evan Lockridge

Freight transportation provider Werner Enterprises has reported a 22% increase in its third quarter net income.

It totaled $26 million compared to $21.3 million a year ago for the Nebraska-based operation. Total revenue increased 8% to $552 million from $511.7 during the same time, pushing earnings per diluted share 24% higher to 36 cents from 29 cents.

Total trucking revenues, minus fuel surcharges, grew 4% to $334.5 million from $321.7 million a year earlier

“Freight demand continued to be strong in third quarter 2014, as it was in second quarter 2014,” the company said in a statement. “Freight demand, as measured by our daily morning ratio of loads available to trucks available in our one-way truckload network, which includes the medium-to-long-haul van, expedited and short-haul regional fleets, showed consistent strength, and we were overbooked, with more available freight than available trucks at the beginning of each business day, throughout third quarter 2014.”

According to Werner, freight market dynamics began showing year-over-year improvement for the company in mid-November 2013, and that trend has continued for the last eleven months, including the first three weeks of October.

“A tight capacity market combined with a gradually firming economy were the primary contributing factors,” said Werner. “Truck capacity is being challenged by an increasingly competitive driver market, trucking company failures and heightened regulatory cost increases for truck ownership and safety; thus, we expect this favorable demand trend relative to constrained supply will continue.”

Average revenues per tractor per week for Werner, net of fuel surcharge, increased 7.4% in third quarter 2014 compared to third quarter 2013. This compares to year-over-year percentage improvements in average revenues per tractor per week of 1.6% in first quarter 2014 and 4.9% in second quarter 2014.

“We made good progress implementing sustainable rate increases with our customers during third quarter 2014. These efforts are expected to continue as we move forward and work to recoup the cost increases associated with more expensive equipment, a shrinking supply of qualified drivers and an increasingly challenging regulatory environment,” said Werner. “Strategic customers understand the collective capacity and service challenges facing our company and our industry and are increasingly supportive of Werner's ongoing initiatives to provide sustainable transportation solutions in support of their supply chain needs.”

In the third quarter 2014, Werner said it averaged 6,974 trucks in service in its truckload segment and 50 intermodal drayage trucks in what it calls its “value added segment.” It ended the quarter with 7,060 trucks in the truckload segment and 55 intermodal drayage trucks in the VAS segment. Werner’s specialized services unit, primarily dedicated, ended the quarter with 3,655 trucks, or 52% of our total truckload segment fleet.

More information is on the Werner Enterprises website.