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BTS releases freight Transportation Services Index (TSI)
Freight shipments rose 0.3% in July from June

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 0.3 percent in July from June, 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. The July 2013 index level (114.3) was 20.5 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession. 

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the level of freight shipments in July measured by the Freight TSI (114.3) was the second highest all-time level. The July index was 0.8 percent below the all-time high of 115.2 in December 2011 (Table 2A). BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000.

The June index was revised to 114.0 from 113.8 in the previous release. The April index was revised to 112.9 from 112.8.

Beginning with the April release, BTS improved procedures and refined the TSI methodology. As a result there have been minor changes in monthly numbers released previously. Documentation will be made available in the near future.

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 increase of 0.3 percent in July freight transportation was driven by increases in rail intermodal and inland water shipments, with small increases in trucking and rail carloads. The slow increase in July after a decrease in June is likely influenced by the decrease in manufacturing output in July.

Trend: The Freight TSI remained above its 2012 range for the seventh month in a row. Beginning with January, every month in 2013 has exceeded the high point of 2012, 112.3 reached in December. The July 2013 level is the highest TSI freight has been in 2013, and is the second highest all-time level exceeded only by December 2011. After dipping to 94.9 in April 2009, the index rose 20.5 percent in the succeeding 51 months.

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in July 2013 (114.3) were 20.5 percent higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.9). The July 2013 level is down 0.8 percent from the historic peak reached in December 2011 (115.2).

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