Monthly freight index down 0.2%, year-over-year up 4.0%

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Freight Tsi

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry fell 0.2 percent in October from the recent peak achieved in September, the first monthly decrease after four consecutive increases, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ Freight Transportation Services Index released Wednesday, Dec. 14.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the freight index was 109.4 in October, still higher than any other month since July 2008 (109.9), which was followed by six straight months of decline. After dipping to a recent low in April 2009 (94.3) – the lowest level since June 1997 (92.3) – freight shipments have increased in 21 of the last 30 months, rising 16.0 percent during that period.

For the first 10 months of 2011, freight shipments were up 2.3 percent. The October level is down 3.5 percent from the historic freight shipment peak reached in January 2005 (113.3) and down 0.5 percent in the five years from October 2006. Shipments are up 11.6 percent in the 10 years from October 2001 despite declines in recent years.

Although October freight shipments rose 4.0 percent from October 2010 and 12.4 percent from October 2009, they remain below the all-time high for the month of October (110.4) reached in both 2004 and 2005.

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. The seasonally adjusted index includes historic data from 1990 to the present. The baseline year is 2000.