Monthly freight index up 0.4% in January, year-over-year down 1.3%

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The Freight Transportation Services Index rose 0.4 percent in January from its December 2009 level, rising after the index was unchanged in December, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported Wednesday, March 10.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the Freight TSI has risen 3.3 percent over the last eight months and has increased in six of the last eight months. The index started 2010 with an increase after having declined 4.1 percent during 2009 and 12.4 percent in two years.

The January Freight TSI of 96.6 is the lowest for January since January 1997 when it was 89.9, but is a 3.3 percent increase from the recent low of 93.5 reached in May, the lowest level since June 1997. The Freight TSI is down 14.4 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006.

With a 1.3 percent decline from January 2009 to January 2010 following a 12.9 percent decline from January 2008 to January 2009, the index has declined 14.0 percent in two years. The freight index is down 14.3 percent in the five years from January 2005, and is down 7.5 percent in the 10 years from January 2000.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight. It includes historic data from 1990 to the present. The baseline year is 2000.