Freight Transportation Services Index, March 2009 - March 2014. Credit: U.S. DOT
The amount of freight carried by the nation’s for-hire transportation industry rose 1.6% in March from February, rising for the second consecutive month, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Freight Transportation Services Index.
The level of freight shipments in March measured by the seasonally adjusted Freight TSI of 116.7 is 0.8% below the all-time high level of 117.7 in November 2013 and is 3% higher than the same time during 2013.
The February index was revised downward to 114.9 from 115.2 in last month’s release while the monthly numbers for October through January were all revised up slightly.
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 March increase in the freight index reflected growth in all modes except pipeline,” said DOT in its report. “Trucking and rail intermodal grew most rapidly. March was the second month in a row that trucking and rail intermodal were the fastest growing modes. The growth in trucking represented continued recovery from unusually severe winter weather that hampered freight shipments in earlier months.”
The department noted the decline in the Freight TSI in December and January and its rebound in the succeeding two months took place while gross domestic product growth slowed to an annualized rate of 0.1% during the first quarter of 2014 from 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.