The Freight Transportation Services Index, based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, rose 2.2 percent from May to April, the U.S. DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today.
May’s index level at 126.8 was 33.9 percent above the April 2009 low recorded during the most recent recession. The 2.2 percent gain from April to May was the largest month-to-month increase since the index rose 2.9 percent from November to December 2011.
The level of for-hire freight shipments in May measured by the Freight TSI at 126.8 hit an all-time high, exceeding the previous high of 126.0 this past February by 0.6 percent.
May saw freight gains in “most modes,” noted the BTS report, especially water and pipeline, while air and trucking freight remained stable.
Financial indicators were positive for May. For example, employment and personal income both grew in May and the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers’ Index “showed positive and accelerating growth,” the report said, although figures showed that housing starts declined.
The Freight TSI all-time high of 126.8 in May was the second time in four months but only the third time overall that the Freight TSI has exceeded 125.0.
For-hire freight shipments are up 12.5 percent in the five years from May 2012 and are up 15 percent in the 10 years from May 2007.
The May figures were up 4.2 percent from May 2016.
Not surprisingly, freight indexes have been closely related to economic cycles, the report said.
The freight transportation index consists of for-hire trucking; rail freight services; inland waterway freight traffic; pipeline transport and air freight.