Thursday, February 10, 2011

DOT: For-Hire Freight Output Up in 2010, Remains Weak

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which measures month-to-month changes in freight shipments in ton-miles, rose 1.5 percent in December from its November level, according to a US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) report issue released Wednesday.

The Freight TSI computes the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

BTS reports that the Freight TSI rose 0.4 percent in 2010.

The index is also up 6.9 percent over the last 19 months, starting in June 2009, when a 10 month 15.3 percent decline in the index ended. The index has increased in 14 of the last 19 months.

The December, 2010 Freight TSI was a 6.9 percent increase from the recent low reached in May 2009--the index's lowest level since June 1997. However, the December, 2010 Freight TSI was down 11.4 percent from the index's historic peak reached in May 2006.

Although the index rose 0.4 percent in the month of December, 2010 compared to same month in 2009, it remains below the level of every other December since 2001. January 2010 was the first month since July 2008 in which the Freight TSI exceeded the level of the same month of the previous year. Since January, 2010, the index has exceeded the year-ago period every month but still remains below levels seen in years prior.

During the fourth quarter of 2010, the Freight TSI rose 1.3 percent, the fifth quarterly increase in the past six quarters.

Over the past five years, the freight index is down 10.1 percent, but up 2.1 percent over the past ten years.