Freight index up 1.3% in March

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The Freight Transportation Services Index rose 1.3 percent in March from the February level, rising after two monthly declines, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported Wednesday, May 7. The rise was the largest monthly increase since May 2006.

The March freight index of 109.1 was down 1.4 percent from its March 2006 level, and down 3.3 percent from its peak of 112.8 first achieved in January 2005. Year-to-date, the freight index has climbed 0.6 percent, following a decline in December-to-March for the previous year.

The overall index, which also includes passenger transportation data, rose 1.6 percent in March from its February level, rising after two months of decline. The March increase was only the fourth increase in the past 12 months, but it was the largest monthly increase since February 2004. The index is 1.0 percent below its peak in May 2006. The index rose 0.8 percent in the first quarter, the fourth consecutive December-to-March increase.

The March level of 111.0 for the combined freight and passenger index was 0.1 percent higher than the March 2006 level, following a decline from March 2005 to March 2006. The March 2007 level was 11.6 percent higher than the March level of the base year of 2000.

TSI is a single seasonally-adjusted index of the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire transportation industries, including railroad, air, truck, inland waterways, pipeline and local transit. The index includes historic data from 1990 to the present.