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BTS releases January 2015 freight Transportation Services Index (TSI)

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, fell 0.2 percent in January from December, declining for the second consecutive month, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS). The January 2015 index level (122.9) was 29.9 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession. 

The level of freight shipments in January measured by the Freight TSI (122.9) was 0.6 percent below the all-time high level of 123.6 in November 2014. BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000. 

The November and December indexes were revised down from last month’s release. November was revised from 123.9 to 123.6 while December was revised from 123.8 to 123.1. There were smaller downward revisions for August through October. 

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: Rail carloads, rail intermodal, and pipeline grew in January but air freight, trucking and waterborne decreased, resulting in the continuing decline in the overall freight index. Institute for Supply Management data indicated that growth in production, orders, and inventory slowed in January. 

Trend: The Freight TSI declined in January for the second consecutive month. It was down 0.6 percent from its all-time high in November after increases for five consecutive months. Even after two months of declines, the index remained higher than it had been at any point prior to the November high. After dipping to 94.6 in April 2009, the index rose 29.9 percent in the succeeding 69 months.  

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in January 2015 (122.9) were 29.9 percent higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.6). The January 2015 level was 0.6 percent below the historic peak reached in November 2014 (123.6). 

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