For-hire shipments dip from record in March

Despite drop, DOT says freight remains at ‘historically high’ level

The Department of Transportation (DOT) said for-hire freight shipments slipped 1.5 percent in March from the record high set one month earlier.

The agency’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) said in a statement May 10 that for-hire shipments for the entire first quarter was down 0.5 percent from the final three months of 2016.

The freight transportation services index measures includes trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipeline and air freight. During March, trucking, rail carloads and rail intermodal all declined from February levels.

BTS said the February index was revised down to 125.9 from 126.4, but still is the highest ever recorded. The March reading was 124.

Overall, BTS noted the index remains at a “historically high level,” with the reading in each of the past four months higher than any other month on record, excluding than July 2016. The index is 30.9% above the low of 94.7 set in April 2009. 

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