Werner Enterprises, a truckload carrier based in Omaha, NE, watched its operating revenues increase 3% in the fourth quarter of 2001 to $320.5 million, compared to $311.4 million in the fourth quarter 2000. Net income increased 10% to $13.7 million, compared to $12.5 million in the fourth quarter 2000.
For the year, operating revenues of $1.27 billion in 2001 were 5% higher than the $1.21 billion of operating revenues in 2000. Net income decreased slightly to $47.7 million in 2001, compared to $48.0 million in 2000. Earnings per share decreased slightly to 99 cents per share, compared to the $1.02 per share in 2000.
"Earnings improvement continued in the fourth quarter 2001 despite difficult operating conditions," said Clarence Werner, the carrier's chairman and CEO. "Revenue per truck per week, net of fuel surcharge, was $2,910, a 1% increase over our revenue per truck per week in fourth quarter 2000."
Average diesel fuel prices were about 40 cents per gallon lower in fourth quarter 2001 compared to prices in the fourth quarter 2000, said Werner, which helped its operating ratios. However, he added that the truckload industry continues to face a combination of negative trends that are causing weaker carriers to exit the market in record numbers.
"The weakened value of used trucks, skyrocketing liability insurance premiums, more restrictive equipment lending standards, and a weaker economy are some of these significant trends," he said. "Trucking failures in 2001 are estimated to be about 4,000, more than double the average annual rate of failures of the previous 15 years."