Today’s Pickup: Some of the largest U.S. freight customers to report results this week


Good day,

Teamsters union members at UPS Freight, UPS Inc.’s (NYSE:UPS) less-than-truckload unit, tonight overwhelmingly ratified a second version of a five-year contract they had rejected a little more than a month ago, averting the first nationwide strike at UPS in more than 20 years.

The contract was ratified by a 77-23 percent margin, with about 9,000 members voting. The Teamsters represent about 11,600 members at the Atlanta-based company’s LTL unit. The first version was rejected by a 62-38 percent margin as workers voiced displeasure with what they said were substandard wage increases and little compromise by the unit in subcontracting out driver functions.

The new contract is retroactive to Aug. 1.

Did you know?

Over-the-road trucking is looking at another strong year of rate gains this year. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed 9.5 percent growth in long-distance truckload rates during October. The conditions suggest a generally tight industry, says FreightWaves chief economist Ibrahiim Bayaan. But the less-than-truckload side of the business is seeing more modest year-on-year growth of 4.1 percent in rates.


“If there has been a pull forward, we haven’t necessarily seen it reverse in October. That might speak to a strong economy, strong consumer demand. It certainly doesn’t suggest these tariffs have massively discouraged Americans from buying products in China.” 

Panjiva research analyst Chris Rogers on the state of Chinese exports to the U.S.

In other news:

Where 27% growth is considered ‘less spectacular’

China’s version of Black Friday hits record level, but growth down from last year. (CNN)

Blockchain proves its mettle

Trading firm Cargill and miner Rio Tinto use technology to ship cargo of iron ore. (International Mining)

Arrest made in driver assault

Incident occurred to Missouri driver during Labor Day parking stop. (Idaho State Journal)

Winter weather expected to hit Midwest

Snow expected in Southern Plains down through northern Arkansas (National Weather Service)

Final Thoughts

Military veterans make up a larger percentage share of the U.S. workforce involved in the transportation industry than do non-veterans, and there’s a big push to keep up that level of participation.  XPO Logistics (NYSE: XPO) just announced a free, four-week accelerated driver training program for veterans. Department of Labor statistics show 10.2% of employed persons that are veterans are involved in transportation and material moving occupations compared to a 5.9% share of the non-veteran workforce. Still, the sheer size of the civilian workforce means veterans are just under million drivers compared to 8.4 million non-veteran drivers. Perhaps reflecting the aging driver pool, Vietnam War-era and earlier veterans saw higher overall employment figures in transportation than Gulf War era veterans.

Hammer down, everyone! 

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Michael Angell, Bulk and Intermodal Editor

Michael Angell covers maritime, intermodal and related topics for FreightWaves. His interest in transportation stretches back several generations. One great-grandfather was a dray horseman along the New York waterfront and another was a railway engineer in Texas. More recently, Michael has written about the shipping industry for TradeWinds, energy markets for Oil Price Information Service, and general business topics for FactSet Mergerstat and Investor's Business Daily. When he is not stuck in the office, he enjoys tours of ports, terminals, and railyards.