Omaha, NE-based truckload carrier Werner Enterprises has reported increases in both revenues and net income for the third quarter of 2001, even as freight market conditions continue to soften.
Werner said its third-quarter operating revenues increased 6% to $322.6 million, compared to $304.6 million in the third quarter of 2000. Net income rose slightly to $12.5 million from $12.3 million in the third quarter of 2000. Earnings per share, however, stayed flat at $0.26 per share for third quarter of 2001.
Clarence Werner, the carrier’s chairman and CEO, added that despite these good results, the overall market outlook for truckload carriers continues to worsen.
"The truckload industry continues to face a combination of negative trends that are causing weaker carriers to exit the market in record numbers," he said, noting the trends include the weakened value of used trucks, skyrocketing liability insurance premium rates, more restrictive equipment lending standards and a softer economy. “Trucking company failures in 2001 are occurring at a rate more than double the average annual number of failures during the previous fourteen years. The pace of trucking capacity exiting the market could accelerate in 2002."
Werner added that freight demand remained softer during the quarter, compared to the same quarter a year ago, though his company added or replaced freight to counter the effects of a slowing economy. "While we experienced a small 1% decrease in our average miles per truck, we improved our empty-mile percentage by 4%," he said.
Werner also said that his company’s debt-reduction plan will be critical to continued financial health in the months ahead.
"Over the past year, the company has reduced its debt by $65 million and, as of September 30, our cash position exceeds our only remaining debt. At the same time, stockholders' equity has grown to $574 million,” he said. “That financial strength affords customers, drivers and non-driver employees the security of knowing that they are working with a strong company that is well-positioned to operate successfully in the future."