Truckload carrier Werner Enterprises said both earnings and revenues increased for the fourth quarter of 2002 and for the year on the strength of rising freight demand and cost-control efforts.
Omaha, NE-based Werner posted net income of $17.6 million on operating revenues of $352.4 million in the fourth quarter, compared to net income of $13.7 million on operating revenues of $320.5 million in same quarter in 2001.
For the year, Werner said its net income jumped 29% to $61.6 million on operating revenues of $1.34 billion, compared to net income of $47.7 million on operating revenues of $1.27 billion in 2001.
"Our freight demand during fourth quarter continued to be consistently better than our weaker demand of fourth quarter a year ago," said chairman & CEO Clarence 'C.L.' Werner.
Werner said a significant factor that contributed to the improvement was a raise in revenue per mile by three cents, compared to the same quarter a year ago.
However, Werner noted that freight demand in January 2003 has weakened from levels experienced in mid-2002. One reason is that retail and consumer products represent about 55% of the carrier's total freight base, and that market experienced a poor holiday selling season.
Another problem Werner foresees for the industry, as a whole, is a rise in diesel fuel prices, which are about 20 cents per gallon higher in fourth quarter 2002 compared to the previous year.