The Freight TSI, released by the U.S. DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments 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.
The level of freight shipments measured by the Freight TSI, 109.7, declined from the all-time high of 113.7 set one month earlier in December.
The results aren't surprising, after the American Trucking Associations reported that its For-Hire Truck Tonnage index also fell in January, by 4% after surging 6.4% in December 2011.
Trend: The DOT says shipments in January 2012 (109.7) were at the second highest level since July 2008 despite the 3.6% decline from December 2011, which was 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 23 of the past 33 months, increasing 16.3% during that period.
Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in January 2012 (109.7 on the index) rose 16.3% from the recent low in April 2009 (94.3). In April 2009, freight shipments were at their lowest level since June 1997 (92.3).
Long-term trend: Freight shipments are up 1.2% in the five years from January 2007 and up 11.1% in the 10 years from January 2002 despite declines in recent years.