Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ: WERN) presented a market update at Morgan Stanley’s 6th annual Laguna Conference on September 12, where John J. Steele, Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer for Werner made his predictions for the upcoming peak season and addressed issues and solutions related to the capacity crunch, e-commerce, and the potential impacts of Hurricane Florence on the market.
Steele noted that they’ve seen “a very strong freight market for most of the year,” with rates up by 11% in the first half, amounting to “essentially double the rate improvement so far year-to-date compared to any prior year in the last thirty.”
Following an unusually strong July and August, Werner anticipates a strong peak season for both consumers and shippers. So strong, in fact, that they’re planning to start the peak season sooner, according to Steele.
Steele also made sure to address the potential impact of Hurricane Florence on operations, estimating that about 3% of Werner’s trucks are based in North Carolina and roughly 1% are in the area surrounding the projected spot of the storm’s landfall.
“If there is significant flooding damage done by Hurricane Florence, that would be disruptive to the market, particularly in that regionalized area” Steele stated.
“As e-commerce becomes increasingly important for brick-and-mortar retailers to compete with Amazon, we’re seeing more companies turn to dedicated solutions to get that high-service, two-day delivery component in their network,” Steele commented.