Monthly freight index up 0.9% in March, year-to-year up 2.6%

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Freight Index

The Freight Transportation Services Index rose 0.9 percent in March from its February level, rising for the third consecutive month, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported Wednesday, May 12. The March Freight TSI rose 2.6 percent from March 2009, the first year-to-year increase in the freight index since July 2008.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the Freight TSI has risen 4.5 percent over the last 10 months, starting in June, after declining 15.3 percent in the previous 10 months beginning in August 2008. The index has increased in eight of the last 10 months. The index started 2010 with an increase of 1.6 percent in the first three months.

The March Freight TSI of 97.8 is a 4.5 percent increase from the recent low of 93.5 reached in May 2009, when the index was at its lowest level since June 1997. The Freight TSI is down 13.4 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006.

Although the index rose 2.6 percent from March 2009 to March 2010, it still remains below the March level of all the previous years since 1997. The 13.2 percent decline from March 2008 to March 2009 left the Freight TSI at its lowest level for March since March 1997 when it was 90.8. The freight index is down 12.5 percent in the five years from March 2005 and down 1.9 percent in the 10 years from March 2000.

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