October 13, 2011 3:00 PM, EDT

DOT Freight Transport Index Rises 4.6%

Tom Biery/Trans Pixs

The Department of Transportation’s freight transportation services index rose 4.6% in August from a year ago as shipments reached their highest level in three years, DOT said Thursday.

The index rose 0.4% month-to-month from July to a reading of 108.7, the highest reading since July 2008.

Freight shipments for the first eight months of the year are 1.6% over last year, and August’s level is 4.1% below the historic freight shipment peak of 113.3, set in January 2005.

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

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.