Increase in freight shipments, BTS reports
Posted February 10, 2012
The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 3.9 percent in December from November, the largest monthly rise in 17 years which brought the level of freight shipments to an all-time high, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI).
BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the level of freight shipments measured by the Freight TSI, 113.7, surpassed the previous high of 113.3 in January 2005.
The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in ton-miles, which are then combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines, and air freight.
BTS included the following findings in its report:
- Trend: Shipments in December 2011 (113.7 on the index) were at the highest level in the 22-year history of the series. After dipping to a recent low in April 2009 (94.3), freight shipments increased in 22 of the last 32 months, rising 20.6 percent during that period. For additional historic data, go to bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.
- Annual: For the full year 2011, freight shipments measured by the index were up 6.4 percent, the highest full-year growth rate since 2002, and marked the third consecutive year with an increase.
- Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in December 2011 (113.7 on the index) rose 20.6 percent from the recent low in April 2009 (94.3). In April 2009, freight shipments were at their lowest level since June 1997 (92.3). The December 2011 level is up 0.4 percent from the previous historic freight shipment peak reached in January 2005 (113.3).
- Long-term trend: Freight shipments are up 3.6 percent in the five years from December 2006 and up 16.3 percent in the 10 years from December 2001 despite declines in recent years.
- 4th Quarter Changes: The Freight TSI rose 3.7 percent in the fourth Quarter, the second consecutive quarterly increase. The index rose in nine of the last 10 quarters.
- Same month of previous year: December 2011 freight shipments rose 6.4 percent from December 2010 and 13.0 percent from December 2009 to surpass the previous all-time high for the month of December (111.4) reached in 2005.
The TSI is a seasonally adjusted index that measures changes from the monthly average of the base year of 2000. It includes historic data from 1990 to the present. Release of the January index is scheduled for March 14.
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