Freight TSI increases 1.2 percent, says BTS

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The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that its Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) increased 1.2 percent from April to May.

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 114.3 is 20.6 percent higher than April 2009’s low point of 94.8 during the recession. And it added that the level of freight shipments was 0.8 percent less than the all-time high of 115.2 from December 2011.

The Freight TSI has seen gains in six of the last seven months and that May’s 1.2 percent gain erased April’s 1.2 percent decrease. BTS added that the Freight TSI has topped its 2012 range for five straight months, with May reaching its highest level of 2013 and second-highest ever, with December 2011 and January 2005 being the highest.

BTS said May’s 1.2 percent gain was paced by truck and rail shipment gains, coupled with “broader signs of strength in the general economy.” It also cited a 6.8 percent gain in housing starts from April to May, which would boost the index as heavy construction materials produce freight tonnage growth.


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