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Freight TSI is flat from June to July, says BTS

By Staff
September 14, 2011

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today that its Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) was flat from June to July.

This follows a 2.6 percent gain from May to June and a 1.8 percent decline 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 July Freight TSI at 108.3 is up 14.8 percent from the recent low of 94.3 in April 2009, which was its lowest level since July 1997. July’s Freight TSI is down 4.4 percent from its historic peak of 113.3 in January 2005.

The July Freight TSI is up 3.8 year-over-year but remains below the early recession level of July 2008 and the most recent July high of 110.9 from 2005, according to the BTS. And July marked the second highest level of freight shipments since August 2008.

The BTS said that freight shipments have been up in 18 of the last 27 months and 8 of the last 15, with shipments increasing 14.5 percent over the last 27 months since May 2009.

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Drewry is expecting the recent spate of freight rate volatility to continue.

For November, which is the most recent month for which data is available, the SCI came in at -3.2. While this is still entrenched in negative territory, it represents an improvement over October and September, which were -5.5 and -6.6, respectively.

Total December shipments––at 1,150,810––were 3 percent better than November and up 5 percent annually. And total 2014 shipments––at 14,092,551––were up 5.61 percent, setting a new record for annual shipments during the time which Panjiva has been collecting this data since 2007.

The biggest story in the energy sector has to be the 30% decline in oil prices since June to a level not seen since the global recession cut a whopping 6% from global consumption back in 2009.

The challenge for air cargo operators to fill capacity, and the confidence to add capacity, remain the same as the demand curve for air freight services recovers.

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