Freight Transportation Services Index, June 2011 - June 2016. Graphic: U.S. DOT

Freight Transportation Services Index, June 2011 - June 2016. Graphic: U.S. DOT


A new U.S. Transportation Department report shows the amount of freight carried by the nation’s for-hire transportation industry rose 0.6% in June from the month before, due in part to increased trucking shipments, and is up 0.4% from the same time in 2016.

The increases put the Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) at a reading of 122.3, its third straight monthly gain, while the May reading was revised down slightly to 121.6 from 121.8.

The June recent figure is just 1.1% below the all-time record high level of 123.7 hit in December 2014 and is 29.1% 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 June Freight TSI increase from May was broad in terms of mode but with drops for water and rail intermodal, which declined after significant rises in May. The June gain was driven by growth in the mining, including oil and gas well drilling and servicing, utility and manufacturing sectors of the economy, according to the report.

The second quarter TSI increase of 2.2% from the first quarter is the first time the TSI rose three months in succession since December 2014. The three months of successive increases followed two months of successive declines, leaving the June level 0.2% below the level of January 2016.

The second quarter increase is also the largest quarterly rise since the first quarter of 2013. It followed two quarters of drops and declines in four of the previous five quarters.