Werner Enterprises produced record revenue and higher profits in the fourth quarter of 2018 as a strong economy fueled demand for both its trucking and logistics services.
Omaha, Neb.-based Werner posted adjusted net income of $53.6 million, or 75 cents a share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with $30.6 million, or 42 cents a share, in the year prior. Revenue climbed 14% to $646.4 million from $567.4 million.
The results were better than expectations by investment analysts on Wall Street as pricing remained solid while expenses for labor and fuel were less than projected, according to a report by Christian Wetherbee, a senior research analyst at Citibank in Morristown, N.J.
“We are extremely pleased and proud that Werner produced record results in 2018,” CEO Derek Leathers said in a statement issued Feb. 6. “Beginning three years ago, we made significant investments in our 5 T’s strategy of Trucks, Trailers, Talent, Technology and Terminals. Those investments, combined with our commitment to raise the bar on customer service, are delivering results.”
Truckload transportation services generated operating profits of $66.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, a gain of 50% from $44.5 million in 2017. Revenue increased 13% to $494.7 million from $439.2 million.
Average revenue per tractor per week rose 6.9% to $4,145 from $3,878 and the total number of company-owned and owner-operator tractors in service increased 5.2% to 7,820 from 7,435.
One-way truckload revenue increased 6.2% to $204.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 from $192.3 million, but total tractors actually declined by 3.3% to 3,320 from 3,435.
Dedicated revenue grew 17.9% to $215.3 million from $182.6 million and the total number of tractors increased 12.5% to 4,500 from 4,000.
Werner Logistics generated operating income of $7.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, a gain of more than 250% from $2 million in 2017. Gross revenue increased 22% to $137.2 million from $112.4 million.
Logistics revenue grew across all business units, Werner officials reported, led by a 23% gain in freight brokerage business and lesser gains in intermodal, freight management, freight forwarding and final-mile businesses.
For the full year, Werner reported adjusted net income of $171.4 million, or $2.38 a share, on revenue of $2.46 billion in 2018, compared with adjusted net income of $92.4 million, or $1.27 a share, on revenue of $2.12 billion in 2017.
“It is an exciting time at Werner,” Leathers commented. “We believe we are uniquely positioned to continue advancing our market leadership given our new fleet, experienced driver and nondriver workforce and our diversified portfolio of dedicated truckload, one-way truckload and asset-backed logistics service offerings.”
Werner ranks No. 15 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of largest for-hire carriers in North America and No. 21 on the TT Top 50 list of largest logistics companies.