Freight index for 2016 ends with all-time high

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 2/9/2017

The official freight index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals December freight was up for all modes except air freight and rail carloads, bringing the index up for the third consecutive month and matching the all-time high.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for December increased by 1 percent to 124.7. This matches July’s record-high TSI, which replaced the former all-time high of 123.6 set in December 2014 before the index started to decline in August.

The December index is 31.7 percent above the low set during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went up to 138.5 from 137.9, an increase of less than 1 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of more than 6 percent in December to 133.8 from 142.7 in November. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s rise occurred as the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index rose by 0.8 percent in addition to growth in employment, personal income and both manufacturing and utilities. Mining production declined and housing starts were off by 0.2 percent.

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