Freight for Thought: UAW members secure contract agreements with Ford, GM and Stellantis

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 November 2023 industry insights:

  • UAW members at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis have voted to ratify their new contracts, locking in record gains with the Big Three automakers. Across the three companies, 64% of voting members voted in favor of the agreement and will see a 25% pay increase over the course of their contract. 
  • U.S. inflation eased more than expected in October as gasoline prices fell. The Consumer Price Index cooled to an annual rate of 3.2%, from 3.7% in September. The Federal Reserve has reiterated a commitment to bringing inflation down to 2% with higher interest rates. The Fed next meets to set rates on December 13.
  • U.S. imports from Asia hit a 2023 high in October at 1.57 TEUs.  This is up +5.9% from September and +12.4% from the previous year.
  • The spread between ocean rates on shipments from Asia to the U.S West and East coasts is narrowing, indicating the return of leveled import volume to U.S. ports.  This comes following several stabilizing factors in 2023; union labor resolutions, a steadying freight market, and the end of Covid-era complications.
  • A shortage of containers in the nation’s interior amid a decline in imports is beginning to compromise the ability of US exporters to ship their commodities to markets in Asia and Europe. The spike in blank sailings from Asia to the US West and East coasts is exacerbating the equipment shortage by disrupting shipping schedules.
  • With Yellow’s liquidation of assets set for determination soon,  Estes Express and Jack Cooper Transport are the top two contenders.  Jack Cooper has been working behind the scenes with the Teamsters to offer an alternative to liquidation and union job loss. The plan rests on whether the Treasury Department will allow Yellow to postpone their repayment of the $700M rescue loan it made to the company in 2020.
  • Diesel prices have dropped to $4.15/gallon this week, decreasing $.063 from the week prior.
  • The war in the Middle East will likely increase fuel rates globally toward the end of 2023.



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

  • There is currently a freeze warning in the evenings and overnights in areas of southern Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, as well as northern Florida and central California.
  • A freezing fog advisory is in effect for most of Oregon and Washington state, isolated regions of Idaho, and a small piece of Northern California.
  • Areas of Northern Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio are experiencing a Heavy Lake Snow advisory – the areas are expected to receive about 1.5”-2” of snow per hour.
  • As we enter winter weather season, please keep in mind any transit could potentially be delayed by pop up snowstorms and related traffic emergencies.

Current U.S. wildfires:

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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.