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May 8, 2013 4:00 PM, EDT

DOT Freight Transportation Index Rises 2.8%

Larry Smith/Trans Pixs

The Department of Transportation’s freight transportation services index rose 2.8% in March from the same month last year and increased sequentially for the fifth straight month, DOT said Wednesday.

The freight TSI rose 0.3% from February to a reading of 113.7, DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics said in its monthly report.

With the gains, the index has exceeded its 2012 range for three straight months, BTS said.

March’s reading was the second-highest since the April 2009, exceeded only by the December 2011 level.

After dipping to a reading of 94.8 in April 2009 during the recession, the index has jumped 19.9% in the subsequent 47 months.

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

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.