Freight Transportation Services Index Down in June - Global Trade Magazine
  August 14th, 2017 | Written by

Freight Transportation Services Index Down in June

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  • The June 2017 freight transportation index was 33.3 percent above the April 2009 low during the recession.
  • The May 2017 freight transportation index was revised upwards and remains an all-time high.
  • While the monthly TSI for June declined, the quarterly TSI rose.

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry in the United States, fell 0.8 percent in June from May. The seasonally adjusted index fell after reaching an all-time high in May, according to the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

The June 2017 index level (126.2) was 33.3 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.

The May index was revised to 127.2 from 126.8 in last month’s release and remains an all-time high. Monthly numbers for January through April remained virtually unchanged. BTS’s TSI records begin in 2000.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in for-hire 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 TSI is seasonally-adjusted to remove regular seasons from month-to-month comparisons.

The freight transportation index consists of for-hire trucking, railroad freight services, inland waterways transportation, pipeline transportation, and air freight. The index does not include international or coastal waterborne movements, private trucking, courier services, or the US Postal Service.

In June, the Freight TSI declined by 0.8 percent from the previous month due to significant decreases in trucking and water while air freight and rail carloads and intermodal grew. Pipeline remained steady. The decrease ran counter to mostly rising trends in other economic indicators: employment, housing starts, and personal income grew. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index rose by 0.4 percent in June, due to growth in manufacturing and mining. The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing index rose to 57.8, indicating accelerating growth.

While the monthly TSI declined, the quarterly TSI covering a three-month period rose. The 1.4 percent second quarter growth in the freight TSI was consistent with the accelerating pace of GDP growth, which reached 2.6 percent in second quarter 2017, up from 1.4 percent growth in the first quarter. There have thus far been four months when TSI declined in 2017, and only two months when it increased, but the net increase so far in 2017 has been 1.3 per cent because of the large increase in May.

The long-term trend shows that for-hire freight shipments are up 11.2 percent in the five years from June 2012 and are up 15.0 percent in the 10 years from June 2007.