Landstar System increased its net profit 30 percent to $26.8 million as truck transportation revenue rose 15.8 percent to $600.2 million in the first quarter.
The truckload operator had the best first quarter in its history, said Henry Gerkens, chairman, president and CEO, increasing total revenue 13.5 percent to $649 million.
A 9 percent increase in truckloads underlay higher revenue and profit, Gerkens said. The $2.7 billion company's freight volume increased despite a slowing economy.
For-hire truck tonnage increased 2.7 percent from a year ago in March, the smallest annualized increase since 2009, according to the American Trucking Associations.
The overall decline in tonnage has yet to match or overtake the decline in truck capacity, however, giving many large truckload carriers a first quarter boost.
"Overall, available truck capacity continues to lag demand, leading to continued strength in pricing," Gerkens said in a statement. Landstar increased its capacity 1.5 percent.
At the end of the first quarter, the carrier's business capacity owners, or owner-operators, fielded 8,350 tractor-trailers, compared with 8,226 units a year ago.
Landstar increased revenue per load, or truckload yield, 6 percent from a year ago.
Gerkens said he expects capacity to remain tight in the second quarter, traditionally a stronger freight shipping period than the post-holiday first quarter.