Port of Oakland reopens as Trucker blockade ends

Cargo containers began moving again through California’s Port of Oakland on Monday after independent truckers withdrew from protests that effectively closed one of the West Coast’s largest ports for nearly a week. Gave.

Officials at private operators of Oakland’s shipping terminals said they were clearing a backlog of ships and boxes after truckers began blocking port gates early last week, stop operation To protest a new California “gig economy” law.

Bill Aboudi, president of trucking company Oakland Port Services Corp., said he tried to make an appointment to pick up the container early Monday, but the earliest available slot was Tuesday night.

“It’s just trying to cram a week’s worth of work into one day just doesn’t work,” Mr Aboudi said. “Nothing will be normal for a few more weeks.”

Activity resumed slowly for the first time on Saturday when protesters did not turn up during the port’s limited weekend hours. By Monday, with business picking up again, the gates were clear and the trucks were moving.

The port, which called an open letter to truckers issued late Thursday, said truckers protesting the new state law should limit protests to designated areas and warned that the gates would be “quoted and punished” by police. ” can be done. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said at that time That truckers should “focus on supporting this transition” to the new law.

“For a week, the police did not take action. But today, they threatened to take action,” Abel Zurfil, one of the protesters, said on Monday. “They are also going to give us tickets for parking our small cars. So we leave our cars in the public park and we walk into the free-speech zone to show off our logo. ,

Over Logistics Report

Mr Zurfeel said the protesters were making a presence without blocking the gates.

Truckers are protesting the new law, known as AB5, which tightens the definition of independent contractors. Although the law went into effect for many businesses in 2020, a legal challenge by the trucking sector has stalled enforcement in the trucking industry.

The US Supreme Court has refused to review the case, sending it back to a state court and potentially allowing California to enforce the law, if it were to move beyond that court.

Some of the estimated 70,000 independent truck drivers in California say they prefer to operate as what the area calls owner-operator, but that law would make it prohibitively expensive to remain independent.

Ed Denik, president of SSA Containers, which owns the terminal, which handles about 70% of cargo entering and leaving the Port of Oakland, said the SSA facility had almost run out of room to handle the boxes.

“The problem was we were trying to work on the ships and take the containers off the ships and put them in the yard and no one was picking up,” said Mr Denik, whose company usually Handles 8,000 to 9,000 containers weekly. “But now we’re open. They can start lifting containers. That will help give us more capacity in the yard.”

write to Akiko Matsuda at [email protected]

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