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BTS releases Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI)
Freight shipments fell 1.9% in October from September

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry fell 1.9 percent in October from September, declining after a one-month increase, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) released today. The October 2012 index level (107.1) was 13.6 percent above the April 2009 low during the recession. BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the level of freight shipments in October measured by the Freight TSI (107.1) was 6.0 percent below the all-time high level of 114.0 in December 2011. BTS’ TSI records began in 1990. The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are 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. 

Analysis: The Freight TSI declined in October 2012, at least in part a result of Hurricane Sandy, which depressed both truck and freight rail traffic. Both rail freight and trucking showed significant declines. 

Trend: Since peaking in December 2011 (114.0) at the highest level in the 22-year history of the Freight TSI series, the index remained in a narrow band through the first nine months of 2012, but in October it dropped to its lowest level since May 2011 (105.2). It reached a high of 110.6 in February before falling to the current low for 2012 in October (107.1). After dipping to 94.3 in April 2009 during the recession, freight shipments increased in 27 of the last 42 months, rising 13.6 percent during that period. For additional historical data, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in October 2012 (107.1) were 13.6 percent higher than 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 October 2012 level is down 6.0 percent from the historic peak reached in December 2011 (114.0). 

See Freight TSI Press Release for summary tables and additional data. See Transportation Services Index for historical data and methodology.

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