Freight for Thought: UAW reaches tentative agreement, 6-week strike ends

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 October 2023 industry insights:

  • The UAW has come to tentative agreements with the Big Three — Ford, Stellantis, and GM — as of Monday morning, 10/30.  Union leaders will travel to Detroit on Friday to consider the contract.  Upon their approval, it will then be voted on by the union members.  Work may resume at all plants effective immediately, putting an end to the 6-week strike.
  • Seattle based LTL Carrier, Convoy, will sell off its assets after announcing they will close at the end of the month .  In April, the company was valued at $3.8B, but is now expected to sell their technology for only a fraction of that.
  • Due to continued container overcapacity, blank sailings between Asia and North America are the highest since April at 23% of total volume. The Journal of Commerce’s outlook for 2024 imports are not strong, with an expected growth of just 3% YoY. 
  • In comparison, roll-on/roll-off ocean vessels are experiencing tight capacity, which has forced vehicle manufacturers to load cars into containers to export.  Asian-produced vehicles have surged this year; Japan exported nearly 2.5M vehicles from January-July.  Together, China, Japan, and South Korea are expected to end the year 24% above 2022, at about 13M total units.
  • A significant increase in US-Mexico cross-border trade moved by truck is putting pressure on infrastructure on both sides of the border and raising costs for US shippers importing goods from Mexico.
  • Starting this month, Norfolk Southern will accept ocean containers in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus, OH; Detroit, MI; and Louisville, KY, for transport to ports on the West Coast.
  • OPEC began production cuts in July, decreasing global supply by nearly 4%.
  • Diesel prices have dropped to $4.45/gallon this week.
  • We’ve seen an $0.85 increase since OPEC began cuts.
  • The emerging war in the Middle East will likely increase fuel rates globally.



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

  • There is currently a freeze watch in effect for most of the Midwest and including parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma.
  • Snow squall/blizzard warnings in effect in for southern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
  • As we enter winter season, please keep in mind any transit could potentially be delayed by pop-up snowstorms and related traffic emergencies.

Current U.S. wildfires:

Image source:

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.