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BTS reports slight uptick in Freight TSI

By Staff
June 12, 2014

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that its Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) increased 0.4 percent from March to April (the most recent month for which data is available).

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 April Freight TSI at 117.6 is the second highest ever and 0.1 percent lower than November 2013’s all-time high of 117.8. And freight shipments are up 24.1 in the past 60 months since dropping to an April 2009 low of 94.8.

BTS officials said that the Freight TSI’s gain was paced by trucking and rail intermodal, which saw growth for the third straight month and the overall Freight TSI was also up for the third consecutive month, following a January nadir brought on by harsh winter weather.

On an annual basis, BTS said freight shipments in April were up 4.8 percent compared to February 2013.

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Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in November was up 3.5 percent compared to October, which was up 0.5 percent over September at 136.8 (2000=100), marking the highest SA on record.

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Carloads were up 12.1 percent at 312,271, and intermodal at 280,337 containers and trailers saw a 4.5 percent annual gain.

Total November POLB volumes were up 2.1 percent year-over-year at 581,514 TEU, and POLA volumes in November decreased 3 percent compared to November 2013 at 663,346 TEU.

When railroads are doing business with a larger than large customer like UPS, it stands to reason, it can often be the best, and worst, of both worlds, depending on how things are going. That was one of the main takeaways from a presentation by UPS Vice President of Corporate Transportation Services Ken Buenker at this year’s RailTrends conference in New York.

Article Topics

News · BTS · Freight TSI · All topics

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