Freight shipments reach all-time high in July, BTS reports

Transportation Service Index rose 1.6 percent

Posted September 16, 2016

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, rose 1.6 percent in July from June, rising for the fourth consecutive month, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). The July 2016 index level (124.6) was 31.6 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.


BTS reported that the 1.6 percent Freight TSI rise in July from June was the fourth consecutive monthly increase, reaching an all-time high of 124.6. The combined growth of 4.0 percent over the four months from March to July was the first time the TSI rose for four months in succession since December 2014. The 4.0 percent rise was the largest increase over a four-month period since February 2013. The new high exceeded the previous high (123.6) in December 2014 by 0.8 percent. The index has risen 31.6 percent since the low of 94.7 in April 2009.


According to BTS, the July Freight TSI increase of 1.6 percent from June was due to growth in trucking and rail carloads, while all other modes declined (data on individual modes is seasonally adjusted by BTS). The July increase was driven by growth in the mining (including oil and gas well drilling and servicing), utility and manufacturing sectors of the economy. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index rose 0.7 percent in June. Housing starts were 2.1 percent above the June level, Personal Income was 0.4 percent above the June level, and employment grew by 255,000 jobs.

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 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.

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