- THE MAGAZINE
The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry fell 1 percent in December from November, declining after a one-month rise, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) released. The December 2013 index level (116.5) was 23 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.
BTS reported that the level of freight shipments in December measured by the Freight TSI (116.5) was the second highest all-time level and 1 percent below the all-time high level of 117.7 in November 2013. The November index number, released last month as 116.5 was revised up to 117.7. BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000.
While the November index was revised up to 117.7 from 116.5 in last month’s release, previous month numbers were revised down. The months from January through October 2013 were all revised down in the range between 0.4 and 0.6 percent.
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 decline in December from November resulted from slight declines across all modes.
Trend: The Freight TSI remained above its 2012 range for the 12th month in a row. Beginning with January, every month in 2013 exceeded the high point of 2012, 111.6 reached in December. The index fell in December 2013 from the all-time high reached in November 2013 but still ranked as the second highest level for the index. After dipping to 94.7 in April 2009, the index rose 23.0 percent in the succeeding 56 months.