The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the Transportation Department this week reported that there was a 0.4% fall in December from November in its Freight Transportation Services Index, which was its 2nd straight fall in the line of a 1.0% decline in November from October.
Officials of the BTS said that the TSI of freight measures changes, month-to-month, in shipments of freight by ton-miles, combining them into one single index. It measures the outcome of the freight transportation industry for-hire and includes data from inland waterways, air freight, pipelines, rail and for-hire trucking.
In December, the Freight TSI was 2.3% down, at 121.0, from the November 2014’s all-time rise up to 123.8, and 27.8% high from the recent 94.7 low of April 2009.
According to BTS’s observations, the December decline of Freight TSI was wide and broad from an average/general perspective, with freight modes fully low leaving out trucking, which rather rose slightly.
The fall seemed to be driven by inadequacies and slowdown in the utility, mining as well as manufacturing economic sectors, BTS said. It added that there was a 0.4% decline in December in the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index, also the index of ISM Manufacturing was lower than 50, suggesting a lowering manufacturing activity. There was also a decline in housing starts compared to November.
Looking at it quarter-wise, the Freight TSI in the 4th quarter came down 1.2% from the 3rd quarter.