Photo by Evan Lockridge

Photo by Evan Lockridge

Werner Enterprises Inc. on Wednesday reported its first quarter net income increased 61% from the same time last year, while total revenue moved just 1% higher.

The Oklahoma-based freight transportation and logistics provider had net income of $23.1 million, compared to $14.3 million a year earlier, as earnings per diluted share increased to 32 cents from 20 cents.

Revenue was $495.7 million compared to $492 million in the first quarter of 2014. On the expense side fuel costs fell by nearly $40 million from a year earlier.

“Freight demand demonstrated consistent strength in first quarter 2015, resulting in one of the better first quarter freight markets in the last six years,” the company said in a release. “Freight demand showed increasingly positive momentum, as expected, from January to February to March 2015.

"In first quarter 2014, there was widespread severe winter weather in the first two months of 2014, which caused significant freight disruption and weather-related costs. Once the weather improved in March 2014, there was an unusual spike in freight demand for several weeks resulting from clearing the backlog of freight shipments.”

During the first three weeks of April 2015, Werner said freight demand “remains firm" and "a strengthening economy combined with constrained truck capacity is contributing to improved freight demand…[and] we expect this favorable trend will continue.”

Werner’s average revenues per tractor per week, net of fuel surcharge, increased 5.5% in first quarter 2015 compared to first quarter 2014, while average miles per truck increased 2%. Average revenues per total mile, net of fuel surcharge, increased 3.5% in first quarter 2015 compared to first quarter 2014.

In first quarter 2015, Werner averaged 7,013 trucks in service in its truckload segment, plus 50 intermodal drayage trucks. It ended the first quarter 2015 with 7,110 trucks in the truckload segment, while its specialized services unit, primarily dedicated, ended the quarter with 3,680 trucks, or 52% of Werner’s total truckload segment fleet.