Werner revenues, profits down in third quarter

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Werner Enterprises reported that its operating revenues declined 5.7 percent for the quarter ended Sept. 30 compared to the same 2006 quarter. Revenues also dropped but at a a slightly lower rate (5.5 percent) for an 8.9 percent decline in operating income to $37.06 million and an 11 percent drop in net income to $21.85 million.

“Freight demand softness and the temporary increase in the supply of trucks caused by the industry truck prebuy made for continued challenging market conditions during third quarter 2007,” Werner reported. Freight volumes rose modestly due to a typical end-of-quarter in September, but volumes declined during the first two weeks of October, the carrier said.

Werner ended the third quarter 2007 with 430 fewer tractors than at the end of the same quarter in 2006. The carrier began reducing its van medium-to-long-haul fleet in mid-March, keeping some of the trucks for more profitable operations.

“We have been holding meetings with our partner customers to explain our goal of committing 100% of our Van truck capacity on a daily basis,” Werner said. “We intend to meet our partner customers’ flex and surge shipment needs using the breadth and depth of the 5,000 qualified carriers managed by our experienced Brokerage team.” Werner did add some tractors to its fleet during the third quarter, however.

With the reduction of capacity in longer-haul operations, average loaded trip lengths dropped 5.3 percent to 550 miles. Meanwhile, average revenues per tractor per week rose 2.1 percent to $3.388 on average revenue per mile that was basically flat at $1.474 (total) and $1.702 (loaded).