The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry declined 1.0 percent in April from March, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ Freight Transportation Services Index released Wednesday, June 8. The April decrease followed a rise in March.
BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that shipments measured by the Freight TSI rose 14.0 percent over the last 24 months, starting in May 2009, after declining 15.7 percent in the previous 15 months beginning in February 2008.
Freight shipments have increased in 17 of the last 24 months. In April 2011, freight shipments returned to about the same level as September 2008 when the amount of freight shipped was early in its decline. For the first four months of 2011, freight shipments measured by the index were up 0.6 percent.
Freight shipments in April (107.5 on the index) rose 14.0 percent from the recent low in April 2009 (94.3), when freight shipments were at their lowest level since June 1997 (92.3). The April 2011 level is down 5.1 percent from the historic freight shipment peak reached in January 2005 (113.3).
Freight shipments are down 2.8 percent in the five years from April 2006, but are up 9.2 percent in the 10 years from April 2001 despite recent declines. Although freight shipments rose 3.7 percent from April 2010 to April 2011, they remain below the early recession level of April 2008 (110.3) and the recent high for the month of April (112.2) reached in 2005.
The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight. The seasonally adjusted index includes historic data from 1990 to the present. The baseline year is 2000.