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Freight Shipping Slips for Second Month
Thursday, 10 December 2009 00:00

Freight shipments declined for the second consecutive month in October, as measured by a 1.2 percent drop in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s closely watched Freight Transportation Services Index.

The slide brought the index to 94.5, down 10.5 percent from last October for the largest October-to- October decline in the 20 years for which the TSI is calculated, said DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The latest TSI is the lowest for October since 1996 when it was 88.8.

The two months of falling shipments follow a brighter picture in the summer, when the TSI increased for three months after a flat May at 93.5, which was the lowest point in more than a decade since June 1997.

The Freight TSI declined in 11 of the past 15 months and in six of 10 months in 2009 despite the three consecutive monthly increases that began in June. It had increased 2.8 percent in between May and August. After October’s decline, it is now 16.3 percent below its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006, said BTS.

The 5.8 percent decline in the first 10 months of 2009 was the largest for the January-to-October period since a 6 percent decline for the first 10 months of 2000.

The freight index is down 14.2 percent in the five years from October 2004. The index is down 9.3 percent in the 10 years from October 1999.

The Freight TSI 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. It is a seasonally adjusted index that measures changes from the monthly average of the base year of 2000. It includes historic data from 1990 to the present.

Customhouseguide.com, 12/10/2009