March 9, 2011 2:00 PM, EST

DOT Freight Transport Index Jumps 6.9%

Annual Increase Is Biggest Since 2002
Larry Smith/Trans Pixs

The Department of Transportation said its freight transportation services index jumped 6.9% in January from a year earlier, and sharply revised upward the reading for 2010.

The index rose last year by 6.4%, up from a previously reported 0.4% increase, making it the largest annual increase in the since 2002.

The freight TSI for January rose 0.9% month-to-month from a revised December reading, DOT’s Bureau of Trade Statistics said Wednesday.

The index, which has shown monthly gains in 16 of the past 21 months, rose to a reading of 108.1 in January from 107.1 in December, which had originally been reported as a 100 reading.

DOT uses a reading of 100 from the year 2000 as a baseline reading for the TSI.

The January reading is up 14.6% from the index’s recent low of 94.3, reached in April 2009, when it was at its lowest level since July 1997. The reading is 4.6% below the index’s historic peak of 113.3, set in January 2005.

The freight 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.