First quarter earnings for trucking company Heartland Express Inc. edged lower from the same time a year ago as revenue posted a significant decline, according to figures released Friday by the company.

Net income fell 2.4% to $14 million while earnings per share of 17 cents were unchanged, but that was 2 cents better than Wall Street expectations. Revenue declined 20.2% to $129.9 million, primarily due to fewer miles driven, according to the Iowa-based carrier.

"The results achieved during the quarter were a result of operating through a challenging freight environment coupled with unfavorable weather conditions in the western United States during the first two months of the quarter followed by stronger freight volumes in March” said CEO Michael Gerdin.

The company was able to greatly cut operating expenses to $110.5 million in the first quarter compared to $142.5 million a year earlier.

“We also increased our fleet activity as evidenced by more equipment purchases and sales completed during the quarter which resulted in an increase in gains on sale of equipment as compared to the same period in 2016,” Gerdin said.

Heartland said it currently anticipates a total of approximately $40 to $50 million in net capital expenditures for the calendar year.

Evan Lockridge

Evan Lockridge

Business Contributing Editor

Trucking journalist since 1990, in the news business since early ‘80s.