November 12, 2009 12:00 PM, EST

DOT Freight Transportation Index Falls 9.9%

Tom Biery/Trans Pixs

The Department of Transportation’s freight transportation services index fell in September from the previous year, DOT said Thursday.

The 9.9% decline in the freight index from September 2008 was the largest September-to-September decline in the 20 years in which the TSI has been calculated. The index dropped 0.5% from August after three consecutive monthly increases.

Before the September decline, the index had risen 2.8% between May and August, DOT said. It has now declined in 10 of the past 14 months.

The freight TSI is 15.2% below its historic peak of 112.9 set in May 2006, with the year 2000 as a baseline level of 100.

September’s 95.7 reading is a 2.3% increase from the recent low of 93.5 in May, when the index was at its lowest level since June 1997.

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.