Werner Profit Jumps 50 Percent on Tight Capacity

Werner Profit Jumps 50 Percent on Tight Capacity

Werner Enterprises saw its net profit surge 50.3 percent in the first quarter over the same quarter a year ago to $16.3 million as freight demand picked up momentum in the Midwest amid tight capacity in the truckload market.

Werner signaled truckload rates were rising, with its average revenue per loaded mile up 3.9 percent and revenue per total miles up 4.5 percent over last year thanks to “customer contractual rate increases, freight mix improvement and unusually strong customer demand for truck capacity in the latter part of first quarter 2011.”

The higher rate per total mile showed customers were willing to pay Werner “capacity charges for repositioning trucks from other regions and providing additional trucks above committed levels.“

Werner’s trucking revenue, without the fuel surcharge revenue that grew 51.2 percent, expanded only 4.2 percent. But brokerage revenue increased 22 percent and the margin in that business grew to 13.7 percent thanks to the tight capacity trends that helped Werner’s trucking performance.

The Omaha, Neb.-based operator signaled it does not expect the capacity situation to change this year.

“We are committed to maintaining our fleet count at approximately 7,300 trucks,” the company said in a statement. “We remain focused on expanding our operating margin to raise our returns on assets, equity and invested capital, while staying true to our expanded portfolio of services for our customers.”