Photo: Evan Lockridge

Photo: Evan Lockridge

The trucking company Werner Enterprises has reported a 48% increase in fourth quarter income compared to the same time a year earlier.

Net income totaled $32.7 million while revenue increased 7% to $553.2 million. Earnings per diluted share were up 49% to 45 cents for the Nebraska-based truckload carrier.

For all 2014 net income was 14% higher than in 2013, totaling 98.7 million. Revenue increased 5% to $2.1 billion while earnings per diluted share gained 15% for $1.36 per share.

In a statement Werner said freight demand during the final quarter of 2014 showed consistent strength and it was overbooked throughout most of time period. “October 2014 demand was the strongest October since the 2008 recession, and our freight demand strengthened further, as expected, in the seasonally strong months of November and December 2014.”

Average revenues per tractor per week, net of fuel surcharge, increased 8.8% in fourth quarter 2014 compared to fourth quarter 2013, according to the company. This compares to year-over-year percentage improvements in average revenues per tractor per week of 1.6% in first quarter 2014, 4.9% in second quarter 2014, and 7.4% in third quarter 2014.

“Several factors had a positive impact on our average revenues per tractor per week and profitability, while at the same time reduced the percentage increase in our revenue per total mile,” the company said. “Our average trip length increased by 5% in fourth quarter 2014 compared to fourth quarter 2013, and longer length of haul shipments generally have a lower rate per mile due to productivity benefits.”

Werner said it made continued progress implementing sustainable rate increases with customers during fourth quarter 2014. “These efforts are ongoing as we move forward in 2015 and work to recoup the cost increases associated with more expensive equipment, a shrinking supply of qualified drivers and an increasingly challenging regulatory environment.”

In fourth quarter 2014, Werner said it averaged 7,021 trucks in service in its truckload segment and 55 intermodal drayage trucks. “We averaged 47 more trucks in service in fourth quarter 2014 than in third quarter 2014 as compared to a decline of 43 trucks in service from third quarter 2013 to fourth quarter 2013. Our specialized services unit, primarily dedicated, ended the quarter with 3,690 trucks, or 52% of our total truckload segment fleet.”