Monthly freight index up 0.1%, year-over-year up 4.9%

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Freight Tsi

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 0.1 percent in November from October, rising after one monthly decrease, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ Freight Transportation Services Index released Wednesday, Jan. 11.

BTS, a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the November level of freight shipments measured by the Freight TSI (109.5) declined slightly from the recent peak achieved in September (109.6) but still remained 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) when freight shipments were at their lowest level since June 1997 (92.3), freight shipments have increased in 21 of the last 31 months, rising 16.1 percent during that period. For the first 11 months of 2011, freight shipments measured by the index were up 2.4 percent.

Although November 2011 freight shipments rose 4.9 percent from November 2010 and 9.4 percent from November 2009, they remain below the all-time high for the month of November (112.5) reached in 2005.

While the November 2011 level is down 3.4 percent from the historic freight shipment peak reached in January 2005 (113.3), freight shipments are up 2.1 percent in the five years from November 2006 and up 12.0 percent in the 10 years from November 2001 despite declines in recent years.

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.