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July 18, 2019 7:30 PM, EDT

Heartland Express Reports Strong 2Q Earnings

Heartland Express truck Heartland Express Inc.

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Heartland Express Inc. reported July 18 another quarter of profit improvement despite a weakening freight environment in the second quarter of 2019.

The North Liberty, Iowa-based dry van truckload carrier earned $22.3 million, or 22 cents a share, in the three months ended June 30, compared with net income of $17.8 million, or 22 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Operating revenue fell 9.3%, to $142.5 million from $155.8 million.

“Our operating results were strong in terms of profit and overall operating efficiency despite general freight environment challenges during the quarter,” CEO Michael Gerdin said. “We were also able to deliver sequential growth in our top line revenues during the second quarter as compared to the first quarter of 2019.

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“We accomplished this by staying disciplined on freight rates, collaborating with strategic and long term-focused customers, and continued to improve on our driver recruiting and retention efforts.”

The company’s operating ratio improved in the second quarter of 2019 to 79.6 from 85.8 in the same period a year ago.

Operating ratio is a company’s operating expenses as a percentage of its revenue, and it is used to determine efficiency. The lower the ratio, the greater the company’s ability to generate a profit.

Company officials say they believe, even with a softening freight market, they are well-positioned for the rest of 2019.

“The overall freight environment could produce periods of both ups and downs for the remainder of the year, but I believe that our organization is well-positioned for whatever opportunities or challenges lie before us,” Gerdin said. “I am pleased with our drivers, our team that supports our drivers and our financial results for the second quarter of 2019.”

Heartland Express ranks No. 57 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.