Welcome to Check Call, our corner of the internet for all things 3PL, freight broker and supply chain. Check Call the podcast comes out every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. EDT. Catch up on previous episodes here. If this was forwarded to you, sign up for Check Call the newsletter here.
In this edition: The United Auto Workers has its strike moment; Mexico maintains its top spot; and the FreightTech 100 list is back.
But wait, there’s more! No, it’s not an as-seen-on-TV ad, it’s another potential union strike. This time it’s the United Auto Workers’ turn at bat. According to a Reuters article, “besides higher wages, the UAW is also demanding shorter work weeks, restoration of defined benefit pensions and stronger job security as automakers make the shift to electric vehicles.”
The Big Three automobile manufacturers — General Motors, Ford and Stellantis — have until noon Friday, to make significant progress with the union, before the expansion of the strike is greenlit. Should the expanded strike happen, it could cripple manufacturing and potentially cause some smaller parts dealers to go out of business, depending on how long it lasts.
The one thing that UAW is doing that is a little different from the strikes, or threats of strikes, from earlier in the year is this is a “Stand Up Strike.” According to a CNBC article, “The ‘Stand Up Strike’ is a new approach to striking. Instead of striking all plants all at once, select locals have been called on to ‘Stand Up’ and walk out on strike. If the automakers fail to make progress in negotiations and bargain in good faith going forward, more locals will be called on to Stand Up and join the strike.”
Currently on strike are workers from GM’s midsize truck and full-size van plant in Wentzville, Missouri; Ford’s Ranger midsize pickup and Bronco SUV plant in Wayne, Michigan; and Stellantis’ Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator plant in Toledo, Ohio.
While everyone watches to see what will happen at the end of the week, now is the time to make plans. Customers that deliver raw goods to manufacturing facilities should expect business to come to a halt at the end of the week, meaning any load that can’t get where it needs to be by 10 a.m. Friday should be rolled to the following week or longer depending on how the strike prognosis looks. The same goes for carriers that are hauling completed vehicles from assembly plants. Their business will come to a screeching halt come Friday afternoon if the strike isn’t stopped.
It’s a watch and wait kind of week, but have those backup plans ready. At this point the only thing stopping the strike from expanding is “serious progress,” as perceived by the UAW.
Mexico is nothing if not consistent. This is the seventh time in the past eight months that Mexico has come in the top spot with the U.S. in international trade. What started out as a close race for Canada and Mexico to be top trading partners with the U.S. has led to Mexico giving a strong lead. The U.S. Census Bureau said Mexico’s year-to-date trade with the U.S. totaled $462 billion. Canada’s was $450.3 billion, with China rounding out the top three at $322.3 billion.
FreightWaves’ Noi Mahoney’s article says, “If Mexico holds on for the rest of 2023 as the top U.S. trading partner, it would only be the second time in history the country has done so. The first time was 2019, when U.S.-Mexico trade totaled $612.8 billion, compared to Canada’s $611.4 billion and China’s $555.6 billion.”
Mexico seems like it’s on its way to obliterating its previous record, especially given the dramatic rise in reshoring happening throughout Mexico. At this point I would honestly be shocked if Mexico didn’t claim the top spot for the year.
SONAR TRAC Market Dashboard
TRAC Tuesday. This week’s TRAC lane of the week is from Nashville, Tennessee, to Philadelphia. The 800-mile trip over the Appalachian Mountains has an average rate per mile of $2.63, which averages about 30 cents per mile higher than the National Truckload Index. An all-in rate of $2,104 plus margin should get the load covered pretty easily. Capacity is tightening in the City of Brotherly Love as outbound tender rejections barely drop to just under 4%. Outbound tender volumes rates though have increased to mid-August levels.
Who’s with whom? It’s that time of year again. The FreightWaves FreightTech Top 100 has been announced. The top 25 will be announced at the Future of Freight Festival. If you want to be part of the action, you can sign up for the event. It’s a lot more fun than just the FreightTech top 25 awards.
The FreightTech 100 list is produced by a panel of journalists, analysts and experts chosen by FreightWaves. The voting form included more than 250 companies with information condensed from nearly 900 nominations.
The full list of the top 100 can be found here as well as previous winners.
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