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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

December freight index posted second-best mark on record, BTS says

In December, the Transportation Services Index (TSI) clocked in at 117.1, down 0.7 percent from November's level but up 3.7 percent from December 2012's mark, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

December's Freight TSI of 116.5 declined 1 percent on a month-over-month basis and increased 4.4 percent on a year-over-year basis. The index measures month-to-month changes in the output of for-hire rail, trucking, inland waterway, pipeline and air freight providers.

The marginal decline from November to December resulted from slight freight-shipment declines across all modes, BTS officials said in a press release. Yet, the Freight TSI in December reached the second-highest level on record, trailing only the 117.7 index posted the previous month, they said.

December's Passenger TSI of 118.3 was virtually unchanged from November's mark and climbed 2 percent compared with December 2012's index. The measure of month-to-month changes in travel services from for-hire air, intercity rail and local transit providers now has risen 7.2 percent in five years and 18 percent in 10 years, BTS officials said.

In fourth-quarter 2013, the TSI rose 1.2 percent, Freight TSI increased 1.4 percent and Passenger TSI ratcheted up 0.8 percent from third-quarter levels.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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