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Freight TSI drops for first time in five months, reports Bureau of Transportation Statistics

By Staff
August 15, 2014

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) recently reported that its Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) dipped 0.9 percent from May to June, the most recent month for which data is available, for its first decline in five months.

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 June Freight TSI at 119.1 was 25.9 percent over the April 2009 low point, and it is 0.9 percent below the revised all-time high of 120.2 from May 2014. Following the April 2009 low point, BTS said that the Freight TSI rose a cumulative 25.9 percent over the next 62 months.

BTS officials said June marks the third straight month that the Freight TSI hit levels it reached prior to the weather-related downturn in the first quarter of this year, even with June coming in below the levels it reached in the previous two months.

“The index for each freight mode declined in June with the largest decline in pipelines,” BTS said in a statement. “The declines took place when construction spending, which often is a driver of transportation shipments, declined in June after several months of increases. Construction spending declined although there was growth in several other economic indicators. Despite the decrease, the freight index was higher in each month of the second quarter of 2014 than it was in any month of the first quarter of 2014 when weather impacted transportation.”

On an annual basis, BTS said freight shipments in June were up 2.8 percent compared to June 2013.

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