UPDATED: 7/26/2022—The port of Oakland has reopened as truckers have moved their protests to “free-speech zones.” Operations are back up and running, however the president of trucking company Oakland Port Services Corp, Bill Aboudi, made note that, “Nothing will be normal for another few weeks.”
The protests at the Port of Oakland—which began this week over California’s AB5 ruling—are continuing and have caused most of the terminals at the port to be effectively closed. At this time, there are no trucks moving in or out of the main container terminals, and only a few vessels are currently being worked. However, terminal spokesmen have said that they will soon run out of room for more containers if gate operations do not return, which will then halt any further vessel operation.
ILWU members have refused to cross the protest lines setup by truckers at the port, limiting the amount of operations that can take place within the terminals themselves. Interestingly, ILWU has now indicated this refusal to cross is rooted in safety concerns, and that it does not stand with the truckers and is supportive of AB5.
The situation has predictably caused a backlog of vessels, as the amount at anchor has tripled in the last few days. Any further prolonging of this action will cause severe backlog.
There is fear that these protests will not easily abate. California’s Governor Newsom has shown no indication of allowing exemptions for owner/operator’s who are against the AB5 rules, and the truckers have shown little desire to accept their reclassification.
Potential to Impact LA/LB
While limited to Oakland Port, the longer the protests persist, the more likely that they will impact operations at other West Coast ports, as vessels are forced to anchor or divert, and cargo originally planned to move in or out of Oakland will have to find other ports along the West Coast. These ports, like Los Angeles & Long Beach, are already under heavy congestion pressures and would face issues supporting a new influx of demand.
Mohawk Global will continue to monitor the situation. For any questions about direct cargo impact, please contact your Mohawk Global representative.