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Freight index falls 3.3% in March

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) fell 3.3% in March from its February level, falling to its lowest level in more than six years, according to Department of Transportation data.

The freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire freight transportation industries. The index consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines, and air freight.

The March decrease was the largest monthly drop for any month since March 2000. The 3.6% decline in the first three months of 2009 is the second largest in the last decade, exceeded only by a 4.8% decline for the first three months of 2000.

The March level of the Freight TSI of 101.4 is the lowest since May 2002 when it was 101.1. The Freight TSI is down 10.4% from its historic peak of 113.1 reached in November 2005.

The 6.4% decline from March 2008 to March 2009 was the largest March-to-March decline in the 20 years for which the TSI is calculated. With the March decrease, the index is down 7.7% in the five years from March 2004, the fourth consecutive month in which the index declined for a five-year period. The index is down 1.3% in 10 years for the first ever 10-year decline in the 20-year history of TSI data.

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