Oakland: The Port of Oakland was back to normal operation on Thursday after a labour-related shutdown of its international container terminal on Wednesday.
It was the first stoppage since a tentative agreement was made between dockworkers and operators two weeks previously, ending a nine-month long period of unrest and delays at all the west coast US ports.
Wednesday’s dispute, over staffing levels, shut yard and gate areas where truck drivers drop off and pick up cargo from container ships at what is the port’s main terminal. Oakland, like the other west coast ports, is working to clear a backlog of cargo.
A message on the port’s website said that as of Thursday afternoon “all marine terminals are open” and six vessels were at berth while seven awaited berths.
In the blame game, both sides were pointing fingers.
The PMA (Pacific Maritime Association), representing shipping lines and terminal operators, claimed that the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) branch at the terminal refused to allow crane operators to work unless management agreed to staff each crane with three workers instead of two. Others of the five terminals at Oakland have a two-man crane crew.
The ILWU accused the PMA of sending workers home and ignoring worker safety.
So far Oakland is the only one of the 29 west coast US ports to experience renewed trouble since the February 20 agreement, which has yet to be ratified by the union.