January freight index unchanged, trucking freight down

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Wednesday, March 08, 2017

The official freight index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals January freight was up for air, water and rail carload freight but down for trucking pipeline and rail intermodal, resulting in no change in the index from December.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for January was stagnant at 123.2. After adjustments from last month, this is 1.6 percent below the high set in July 2016 (125.2), which replaced the former all-time high of 123.6 set in December 2014 before the index started to decline in August.

The January index is 30.1 percent above the low set during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went down to 137.2 from 138.3, a decrease of less than 1 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage increase of nearly 3 percent in January to 138.8 from 134.9 in December. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, the TSI’s lack of movement comes amid mixed signals in the economy. Employment, personal income, and the Institute for Supply Management Purchasing Managers’ Index all grew while the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index fell 0.3 percent and housing starts were down 2.6 percent.

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