April Freight Index Falls After Five Straight Monthly Hikes

June 13, 2013

By Evan Lockridge

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The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry fell 1.2% in April from March, declining after five consecutive monthly increases, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Freight Transportation Services Index level of 112.4 was 18.5% above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.

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.

The 1.2% decline in freight transportation was driven by declines in shipments by water, pipeline shipments, and rail intermodal. Trucking was stable in April on a seasonally adjusted basis. The stability in trucking, the decline in rail intermodal, and the decline in the overall Freight TSI were consistent with a slight decline in manufacturing output, and a larger decline in housing that took place in April.

Even with the April decrease to 112.4, the index has remained above its 2012 range for four consecutive months.. 

Year-to-date freight shipments measured by the index were up 0.2% in April compared to the end of 2012 while April freight shipments were up 1.2% from the same time a year earlier.

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