Freight for Thought: UAW launches strike against the Big Three

The following insights are provided by Sunset’s Strategic Account Management team.

Trends and discussions range from seasonal manufacturing and agriculture trends that affect available capacity to general insight into outside factors affecting freight volumes.

Below is a summary of the September 2023 industry insights:

  • The United Auto Workers (UAW) launched a strike against the Big Three automakers this month after contract negotiations failed. The union is targeting all three Detroit automakers; FordStellantis, and General Motors. They are actively targeting multiple plants for Stellantis and GM but only striking at one Ford facility in Wayne, MI.  Presently, 14% of UAW members are actively picketing.
  • Last week, J.B. Hunt made the announcement they are acquiring the brokerage division of BNSF.  This move concretes J.B. Hunt’s effort to add as many as 150K containers over the next 3-5 years – a 40% increase in it’s intermodal container fleet count.
  • The revised greenhouse emissions strategy gives the shipping industry a new timeline for a global fuel standard in 2027.  Negotiations at IMO headquarters by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 80) ended Friday 9/15 with an agreement to revise shipping’s global emissions target from “at least” 50% to “by or around” net-zero by 2050
  • El Paso and Eagle Pass, TX are currently closed to cross-border cargo operations. There is currently no estimated time for reopening.  Please contact your Sunset Account Manager for the latest updates if this affects your business.
  • Biden-Harris administration announces a $1.4B infrastructure funding for 70 projects that will approve rail safety, strengthen supply chains, and add passenger rail service. 
  • Estes Express has announced a new policy called ‘Retail Guarantee’ which will cover up to 2x a customer’s freight costs should a failure in service times result in a chargeback fee.  
  • OPEC began production cuts in July, decreasing global supply by nearly 4%.
  • Diesel prices have surpassed $4.59/gallon this week, down $.05 from the week prior. 
  • We’ve seen an $.84 increase since OPEC began cuts.



Please expect delays in transit for shipments going through the below listed affected areas

  • There is currently a red flag warning in effect for Southern Idaho and Eastern  Oregon indicating high wings and easy wildfire spread.
  • Flooding conditions are being seen on coastlines in Oregon and Northern California.
  • Water levels in the Panama Canal are now close to the minimum allowed for cargo ships to pass safely due to excessive drought.  Traffic is currently limited to 32 ships daily and waiting vessels tally around 160.

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Industry data is pulled and summarized weekly from key proprietors and industry experts using multiple publications and sources. Sources include, but not limited to: FreightWaves, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), DAT, Journal of Commerce (JOC), Reuters, PYMNTS, NRF, Bloomberg. The information is discussed with Sunset Directors and validated prior to publication of summary data in this posting.