WASHINGTON — The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, fell 0.9 percent in March from February, falling for the second consecutive month, DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported May 11.
The March 2016 index level of 120.0 was 26.7 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession, the government said. The level of freight shipments in March measured by the Freight TSI was 2.8 percent below the all-time high level of 123.5 in November 2014.
All freight modes decreased except air freight, which rebounded after a significant decrease in February, according to BTS. The decrease was driven by continued weakness in the mining (including oil and gas well drilling and servicing), utility and manufacturing sectors of the economy.
The TSI dropped 1.2 percent in the first quarter from the previous quarter, BTS reported, matching trends in the economy as a whole. Gross Domestic Product growth decreased to the relatively slow annual rate of 0.5 percent. The Industrial Production index also declined during the first quarter.
The TSI fell to the lowest point since March 2014, 2.8 percent below the high point of November 2014, according to BTS. The two-month decline was the largest since January 2014. The Freight TSI has now declined in four of the last five quarters, but remains high compared to earlier years.
The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.
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