Freight index fell 1.3% in December

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The Freight Transportation Services Index fell 1.3 percent in December from its November level, turning down after two monthly increases in the largest monthly decline since November 2006, the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported today, Feb. 13.

The December decline dropped the freight index into negative territory in 2007, declining 0.1 percent for the year. Increases in October and November turned the index positive after being down for the first nine months of the year through September. The 0.1 percent decline in 2007 was the second consecutive annual decline; in 2006, the index declined 2.2 percent.

The December decline was the first after the index rose a combined 1.9 percent in the previous two months. At 108.8, the Freight TSI is down 3.8 percent from its peak of 113.1 achieved in November 2005 and up 0.7 percent in the two months from its recent low of 108.1 in September 2007.

The December Freight TSI of 108.8 was 0.1 percent lower than the December 2006 level and remains 2.2 percent below the December 2005 level and 2.0 percent lower than the December 2004 level. Despite declines from recent December levels, the freight index has increased 4.0 percent in five years and 12.4 percent in 10 years.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire freight transportation industries, including trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight. It includes historic data from 1990 to the present. The baseline year for the seasonally adjusted index is 2000.