The Iowa-based truckload operation Heartland Express reports it saw a first quarter uptick in profits while revenue was mainly unchanged.

Net income was $19.7 million compared to $16.6 million during the first quarter of 2012, a 19.0% increase, while operating revenue for the period was relatively flat at $134.3 million versus $134.8 million.

For the quarter posted an operating ratio (operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenues) of 77.5% and a 14.7% net margin (net income as a percentage of operating revenues) compared to 82.4% and 12.3%, respectively, in the first quarter of last year.

It also says fuel expense continues to have a significant impact on operations. “During the past eight quarters, including the first quarter of 2013, fuel expense has exceeded salaries, wages, and benefits as our largest expense for six of the eight quarters,” the company said in a statement. “Historically, prior to significant fuel price increases in 2008, salaries, wages, and benefits was our largest expense.”

The company says it continues to focus on fuel surcharge pricing, truck idling hours, overall tractor fuel economy and fuel purchasing decisions in an effort to lessen the impact of higher fuel costs.

During the past quarter Heartland took delivery of 485 new trucks which included ProStar Plus International and Freightliner Cascadia models. An additional 190 new trucks it says will be received throughout the second quarter to complete this current upgrade.

More information is available from the Heartland Express website.