Freight Transportation Services Index hits new all-time high, reports BTS

For August, the most recent month for which data is available, the Freight TSI was up 1.5% over July to 130.7, setting a new all-time high, while also rising 6.7% annually. It also outpaced July 2016 by, which was its highest level prior to 2017.

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Following two straight months of declines, the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that its Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) saw returned to growth.

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.

For August, the most recent month for which data is available, the Freight TSI was up 1.5% over July to 130.7, setting a new all-time high, while also rising 6.7% annually. It also outpaced July 2016 by, which was its highest level prior to 2017.

BTS pointed out that this marks the first time the TSI has topped the 130 mark, with a 30% increase over the baseline of 100 when it was first rolled out in 2000. On a historical basis, the Freight TSI hit 110 in March 2004, a 10% increase over the initial baseline and it hit 120 in April 2014 for a 20% gain over the original baseline.

What’s more, BTS said August was the second all-time high in a row, and the third in four months. In each of the last two months, the Freight TSI exceeded the previous high by at least 1.1 percent. The Freight TSI increase of 1.5 percent in August immediately followed another large increase in July (2.1 percent) - there have been large increases in three of the last four months. The increase in May was 2.3 percent for a total increase of 5.0 in the four months since April 2017. The index was higher in each of the last four months from May 2017 to August 2017 than in any month prior to May. All five of Freight TSI’s all-time highest months have been in 2017. Each of these months exceeded the previous high (124.9 in July 2016) by at least 1.0 percent. The August index was 38.0 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession

The August increase in the Freight TSI was driven by a large gain in trucking and smaller gains in air freight and rail intermodal, BTS said. It also stated that water and pipeline freight decreased while rail carloads were stable. “

“The increase took place against a background of growth in several other indicators in August,” said BTS. “Employment, Personal Income and housing starts all increased. The Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers’ Index showed positive and accelerating growth. However, the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index declined by 0.9 percent, with decreases in all sectors.”


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Article Topics

BTS · Freight TSI · All Topics
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