Transportation Index rises again

by Wally Northway

Published: October 19,2009

Tags: distribution, freight, recession, transportation

WASHINGTON — The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 0.7 percent in August from its July level, the second consecutive monthly increase, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports.

According to BTS, the Freight TSI has now gone four consecutive months without a decline after dropping in nine of the previous 12 months. This is the first four month period without a decline in the index since 2002.

The August Freight TSI of 96.2 is a 2.7 percent increase from the recent low of 93.6 reached in April. In April, the index was at its lowest level since June 1997. The Freight TSI is down 14.8 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006.

The 4.2 percent decline in the first eight months of 2009 was the largest in the last decade, exceeding the 4 percent decline for the first eight months of 2000.

The August Freight TSI is the lowest for August since Aug. 1997 when it was 94.4. The 10.9 percent decline in the Freight TSI from Aug. 2008 to Aug. 2009 was the largest August-to-August decline in the 20 years for which the TSI is calculated.

The freight index is also down 12.2 percent in the five years from Aug. 2004. The index is down 6.5 percent in the 10 years from Aug. 1999. All the five-year and 10-year declines took place consecutively in the past several months.

The TSI for passengers rose 0.8 percent in August from its July level. The Passenger TSI August 2009 level of 111.2 was 4.2 percent below the Aug. 2008 level, the second-largest August -to-August decrease in the last decade, exceeded only by the 7.6 percent decrease in 2002 to which the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack contributed. Despite recent declines, the index is up 6 percent in five years and 16.2 percent in 10 years.

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