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BTS reports Freight TSI is up 1.0 percent in December

By Staff
February 13, 2013

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that its Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) increased 1.0 percent from November to December, following a 1.7 percent rise from October to November.

According to BTS officials, the Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments in ton-miles, which are then 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.

The BTS said that the December Freight TSI at 109.9 is 16.6 percent higher than April 2009’s low point of 94.3 during the recession and 3.5 percent below the December 2011 reading of 114.0, which represents the all-time high since BTS first began collecting data in 1990.

With December up for the second straight month, BTS said that it was driven by growth from freight rail and trucking increases, due, in part, to Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts and general economic activity.

And since April 2009, BTS said that freight shipments have risen in 29 of the last 44 months, increasing by a cumulative 16.6 percent during that time.

BTS said freight shipments are up 0.1 percent since December 2007’s pre-recession level and up 5.3 percent in the ten years from December 2002 amid declines in recent years.

On an annual basis, December shipments are down 3.5 percent and up 10.6 percent from December 2008 and below December 2005’s 111.4, which was two years before the recession took hold.

For all of 2012, freight shipments were down 3.5 percent annually, which BTS said was the first decline since 2008, following three straight years of declines.

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