The Transportation Services Index (TSI), which was recently launched by the Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), reported some of its highest levels in the 14-year period it covers. With the exception of January 2004, the index rose every month since August 2003. The index studies historic data from 1990 and marks changes against a base year of 1996. The BTS considers the TSI to be still underdevelopment and, therefore, experimental.
With those caveats, the TSI for freight registered a seasonally adjusted increase of 1.4% in March when compared with February's level of 121.6 (1996 = 100). The March 2004 freight TSI was 123.3, 6% ahead of the same month a year earlier. This is a record high for the 14-year period the TSI covers.
The freight index consists of for-hire trucking, rail freight and intermodal services, inland waterways transportation, pipeline transportation, and airfreight. It does not include parcel services international or coastal waterborne movements, private trucking, courier services, or the U.S. Postal Service.