Freight TSI drops from all-time high reading

The March TSI reading at 124.0 was 1.5 percent below February’s 125.9, which topped the previous all-time high of 124.7 recorded in July 2016. And it is 30.9 percent above the all-time low of 94.7 recorded in April 2009.

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The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that its Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) declined in March, following a record-high in February.

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 March TSI reading at 124.0 was 1.5 percent below February’s 125.9, which topped the previous all-time high of 124.7 recorded in July 2016. And it is 30.9 percent above the all-time low of 94.7 recorded in April 2009.

BTS said the March decline was due to decreases in trucking, rail carloads, rail intermodal, and ocean cargo, with airfreight and pipeline seeing gains. It added that the “decline took place against a background of mixed signals in other economic indicators. Employment and personal income grew, while housing starts declined.  The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index rose by 0.5 percent in March, but this was entirely due to growth in utilities, as manufacturing output declined.”

The cumulative first quarter Freight TSI was off 0.5 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2016, which was off 3.5 percent compared to the third quarter, and marks the sixth quarterly decline out of the last nine quarters going back to December 2014. On a year-to-date basis, BTS said that for-hire shipments measured by the TSI are off 0.5 percent compared to the first three months of 2016. 


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Article Topics

BTS · Freight TSI · All Topics
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