Celadon Group, Indianapolis, reported its first fiscal quarter profit was up more than 50% compared to the same period last year.

For the quarter ending Sept. 30, revenue was up 6.5% to $153.3 million, while freight revenue increased 6.4% to $122.1 million. Net income increased 50.9% to $8.3 million in the 2012 quarter from $5.5 million for the same quarter last year.

Operating ratio, which represents operating expenses as a percent of revenue excluding fuel surcharge, was 87.6%, compared to 90.9% in the September 2011 quarter. "Even in a difficult economic and industry operating environment, this represents our second consecutive quarter with a sub-90% operating ratio," noted the company in a statement.

Several key factors contributed to the improvement, including an increase of 2% in revenue per loaded mile and decreases in operations, maintenance, and fuel expense.

These decreases were achieved through a significant equipment refresh program that replaced the majority of Celadon's tractor and trailer fleets with more fuel-efficient equipment, effectively taking the average age for each to 1.3 years and 2.3 years, respectively.

The company also continues to streamline our operations to reduce the ratio of tractors to trailers.

Offsetting these improvements was a decline in miles per seated truck of about 5% from the prior year, which was a result of the weak freight environment.

Acquisitions over the past year have helped increase the company's average seated count by approximately 8%.