Monthly freight index down 3.6 percent from record high

Updated Mar 16, 2012

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry fell 3.6 percent in January from December, declining after five consecutive monthly increases, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ Freight Transportation Services Index released Wednesday, March 14.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the level of freight shipments measured by the Freight TSI, 109.7, declined from the all-time high of 113.7 set one month earlier in December. However, shipments in January were at the second-highest level since July 2008.

Freight shipments in January were up 16.3 percent from April 2009 (94.3) when they were at their lowest level since June 1997 (92.3). Freight shipments were up 1.2 percent in the five years from January 2007 and up 11.1 percent in the 10 years from January 2002 despite declines in recent years. January freight shipments rose 1.6 percent from January 2011 and 13.0 percent from January 2009 but remained below the level of January 2008 (111.8).

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in ton-miles, which then are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

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