Werner says 1Q profit down, revenue up

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Truckload transportation and logistics provider Werner Enterprises Inc. reported Wednesday, April 16, that revenues increased 2 percent to $512.8 million in first quarter 2008 compared to $503.9 million in first quarter 2007. Revenues, excluding fuel surcharges, declined 6 percent to $417.0 million in first quarter 2008 compared to $443.5 million in first quarter 2007. Profit was $8.4 million compared with $15.7 million.

The Omaha, Neb.-based company said that unprecedented high diesel fuel prices, continued softness of freight demand, weaker demand in the used equipment sales market and worse-than-normal winter weather conditions created the most challenging quarterly truckload period in many years. The company said the freight demand softness was by far the most significant in the medium- to long-haul van fleet, a fleet that Werner reduced by about 850 trucks since mid-March 2007.

Werner said the continuing softness in the housing and automotive sectors — that are not large markets for the company — caused carriers that serve these markets to compete more aggressively in the consumer nondurable markets it principally serves. In addition, slowing economic growth and retail inventory tightening also contributed to lower freight demand, the company said. These factors and the significant increase in truck supply caused by the industry truck prebuy prior to the 2007 engine regulation change led to a competitive market in first quarter 2008, according to Werner.