Port of Oakland Protests Increase Concern Over Supply Chain Challenges

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Trade

The ongoing protest at the Port of Oakland is creating further concern about the already strained supply chain. Last week independent truckers effectively shut down operations at the eighth-largest port in the country. According to the Oakland International Container Terminal, the terminal will also be closed for the day and night shifts on July 25. California’s 70,000 owner-operators are frustrated with Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), which would make it exceptionally more expensive for truckers to remain independent contractors.

Port of Oakland

“We understand the frustration expressed by the protestors at California ports,” Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan said in a statement. “But, prolonged stoppage of port operations in California for any reason will damage all the businesses operating at the ports and cause California ports to further suffer market share losses to competing ports.”

The situation is causing substantial concern for California’s farming industry, as the Port of Oakland handles a significant number of agricultural exports. Prior to the protests, there had been some progress made in addressing port congestion and getting products moved in a timelier manner. Shutting down the operation of the port threatens the momentum of alleviating some of the supply chain disruptions.

In a letter distributed to protestors, Wan has tried to ease some of the tensions. Wan explained that the Port of Oakland will try to address some of the concerns of independent truckers through the establishment of a working group. The port will also be collaborating with state officials to assist truckers with the implementation process of AB 5. While expressing sympathy for the truckers’ frustrations, Wan pleaded with protestors to not further impact operations at the port.

“We support your first amendment right for peaceful demonstration. However, as we discussed, even before your demonstrations began, the supply chain locally to globally was already congested,” said Wan. “We respectfully ask that each independent owner/operator cease any further protest activity that disrupts Port operations and the flow of commerce at the seaport.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West