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February 13, 2013 4:30 PM, EST

DOT Freight Transportation Index Rises 1%

Tom Biery/Trans Pixs

The Department of Transportation’s freight transportation services index rose 1% in December from November, its second straight monthly increase, with both trucking and rail freight showing large gains, DOT said Wednesday.

The index’s 109.9 reading was 3.5% below the 114 reading of December 2011, which had been the highest in the 22-year history of the freight index. DOT uses a baseline 100 reading from the year 2000.

The rail and trucking increases were due, at least in part, to recovery from Hurricane Sandy, as well as general economic activity, DOT said.

The index rose 0.7% in the fourth quarter following a 0.6% decline in the third quarter — which was revised from “no change” — and a 0.3% upturn in the second quarter. The index has improved in 11 of the past 14 quarters.

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.