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BTS releases Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI)
Freight shipments rose 0.5% in February from January

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 0.5 percent in February from January, rising after a one-month decline, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) released today.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the level of freight shipments measured by the Freight TSI, 110.3, declined from December 2011’s mark of 113.7, which was the all-time high since 1990 when BTS’ TSI records begin. See historical TSI data.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation 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.

Trend: Shipments in February 2012 were at the second highest level since the early recession month of April 2008 despite the 3.0 percent decline from December 2011 (113.7 on the index), which was the highest level in the 22-year history of the series. After dipping to a recent low in April 2009 (94.3), freight shipments increased in 23 of the last 34 months, rising 16.9 percent during that period. For additional historical data, go to

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in February 2012 (110.3 on the index) rose 16.9 percent from the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.3). In April 2009, freight shipments were at their lowest level since June 1997 (92.3). The February 2012 level is down 3.0 percent from the historic freight shipment peak reached in December 2011 (113.7).

Long-term trend: Freight shipments are up 1.8 percent in the five years from February 2007 and up 11.1 percent in the 10 years from February 2002 despite declines in recent years.