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Freight TSI reaches a new high, reports DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics

By Staff
July 11, 2014

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that its Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) headed up 0.6 percent from April to May (the most recent month for which data is available), showing growth for the fourth straight month. 

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 May Freight TSI at 120.0 is the new all-time high level, topping November 2013’s 119.4, which was set before the harsh winter weather kicked in. BTS said that after falling to 94.6 in April 2009, the Freight TSI increased a cumulative 26.9 percent in the following 61 months.

Trucking paced the Freight TSI’s growth in May, as it grew for the fourth straight month, and gains in pipeline and waterborne shipments also were contributors. Trucking growth occurred in dry van trucks, flatbed, and tank trucks, while rail intermodal shipments dropped after three months of growth.

On a year-to-date basis, BTS said freight shipments were up 0.8 percent through May compared to the end of 2013. And freight shipments are up 26.1 percent going back to May 2009’s recession level and are up 8.6 percent going back to May 2004.

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