Heartland Express increased its profit 35.3 percent year-over-year to $22.5 million as operating revenue rose 7 percent to $137.2 million in the second quarter.
The North Liberty, Iowa, truckload carrier is one of the most profitable companies in trucking, with an operating ratio of 76.2 percent and a 16.4 percent net margin.
Heartland could have been more profitable if it had more drivers. The company said it is “challenged by the shrinking pool of qualified drivers” and rising fuel costs.
Fuel payments rose by $11.3 million or 36.4 percent from a year ago to $42.3 million. Fuel surcharges surged 50.4 percent to $29.7 million in the quarter.
In the first quarter of 2011, Heartland increased operating 10.4 percent to $127.7 million and raised its net income 25.2 percent to $14.9 million.
Truckload capacity tightened as freight demand increased in the quarter, Heartland said.
The company put 200 new Navistar International tractors and 1,098 Great Dane and Wabash trailers on the highway in the quarter, replacing older vehicles.
Heartland said it plans to buy an additional 400 to 500 trucks and 1,500 to 1,600 trailers this year to “take advantage of growth opportunities.”
Contact William B. Cassidy at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wbcassidy_joc