May 12, 2010 2:00 PM, EDT

DOT Freight Index Sees First Year-to-Year Gain Since 2008

Tom Biery/Trans Pixs

The Department of Transportation’s freight transportation services index rose 2.6% in March from a year ago, marking the first such increase since July 2008.

The index gained 0.9% in March from February, marking its third straight month-to-month gain, DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics said in its monthly report released Wednesday.

The freight TSI’s 97.8 level — with the year 2000 being the baseline 100 reading — is down 12.5% in the five years from March 2005, and is 1.9% down in 10 years from March 2000.

The index is 4.5% above its recent low of 93.5 in May 2009, and 13.4% off its historic peak of 112.9, set in May 2006.

The TSI is a seasonally adjusted monthly index measuring the output of services provided by the for-hire transportation industries, including railroad, air, truck, inland waterways, pipeline and local transit.