Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ: WERN) reported first-quarter adjusted earnings of 68 cents per share after the close Wednesday, 5 cents ahead of the consensus estimate and 28 cents better than the year-ago quarter.

An increase in the tax rate compared to the 2020 period was a 2-cent-per-share headwind, which was more than offset by lower insurance expense and higher gains on sale. Management estimates that weather was a 7-cent-per-share headwind during the quarter.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based transportation and logistics provider reported a 4% year-over-year increase in consolidated revenue to $616.4 million, primarily due to an increase in logistics revenue. Adjusted operating income of $62.7 million was 68% higher year-over-year.

The company’s one-way segment reported a 1% year-over-year increase in revenue per truck per week, 2% higher in the dedicated segment.

Revenue per total mile, excluding fuel surcharges, increased 9.5% in the one-way fleet, at the high end of management’s prior guidance range of 7% to 10% for the first half of the 2021. Given the continued tightening in capacity and elevated truck demand, guidance for the pricing metric was raised to a range of 13% to 16% for the second quarter.

The comparable metric for the dedicated segment came in 2% higher year-over-year, and management extended the 3% to 5% guidance to include the full year versus only the first half previously.

“Freight demand was seasonally strong in first quarter 2021. Freight demand has continued to be strong so far in second quarter 2021,” the press release stated.

The TL adjusted operating ratio was 85.8%, 570 basis points better year-over-year as TL rates increased and insurance and claims expense declined. The first quarter of 2020 included $10 million in insurance and claims expense related to a serious accident. Additionally, gains on sale were $8 million higher year-over-year in the quarter, an 8-cent-per-share tailwind.

Werner now expects gains on equipment sales of $17.5 million to $20.5 million during the first half of 2021. The prior guidance called for gains on sale of $12 million to $15 million for the entire year.

Werner will host a conference call to discuss these results with analysts at 5 p.m. EDT Wednesday. Stay tuned to FreightWaves for more coverage on Werner’s earnings report.

Table: Werner’s key performance indicators

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Todd Maiden.

Saia expects Q2 operating ratio to near 87%
Yellow takes delivery of 1,200 tractors as part of Treasury relief loan
DSV Panalpina buys Agility’s logistics unit for $4.1B