Walkout at Port of Oakland reportedly causes backlog

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A daylong walkout on Tuesday, Sept. 25, by longshoremen at the Port of Oakland to mourn a dockworker’s shipboard death caused a cargo backlog that could take as long as a week to recover, port officials told the Alameda Times-Star Wednesday, Sept. 26.

“We estimate maybe seven ships will be impacted by the shutdown of operations,” port spokeswoman Marilyn Sandifur told the newspaper. “We anticipate it will probably take anywhere from five to seven days to catch up on the backlog of work. That’s because other ships are scheduled to come in.”

Each of the delayed ships can carry more than 2,000 of the 40-foot shipping containers, according to the Times-Star. The closure “means a massive backup,” said Brandon Taylor with GSC Logistics, a warehousing, distribution and transportation company at the port. “This means we can’t pick up or take empties back – we’re stuck and will definitely feel the ripple effect for at least a week,” he told the newpaper.

The ripple effect not only will mean congested terminals when port operations resume again; the shutdown also will be felt in distribution centers in the San Joaquin Valley and elsewhere, where warehousing facilities continue to operate, Taylor told the Times-Star.

Port operations resumed Wednesday, Sept. 26, and idled truckers were scrambling to catch up. “We didn’t stop by choice,” Bill Aboudi, operations manager for Oakland-based AB Trucking, told the newspaper. “We are trying to take care of our customers. All we can do is deliver (cargo that was unloaded Monday by longshore workers before the shutdown) or pick up loads from our customers.”

When asked about the possible cost associated with the lockout, Sandifur told the Times-Star the port was more concerned about finding out how and why 39-year-old Reginald Ross of San Francisco was killed aboard a Hapag-Lloyd container ship Monday, Sept. 24. A 2002 lockout by shipping companies at 29 West Coast ports was said to cost the nation’s economy $1 billion a day, according to the newspaper.