Protests Hurt July Cargo Volumes at Port of Oakland

Last month’s weeklong protests by truck drivers significantly affected cargo numbers at the Port of Oakland, which saw its container volumes fall 28% last month compared to July 2021, according to new data released Wednesday, Aug. 17.

The Northern California seaport processed 116,629 loaded TEUs last month, with imports tumbling 26.7% from 94,745 in July 2021 to last month’s 69,463 TEUs.

Loaded exports fell even further, dropping 30.8% from 68,153 TEUs in July 2021 to 47,166 TEUs last month.

“The port was closed nearly a week last month due to the trucker protests voicing concern over AB5,” Port Maritime Director Bryan Brandes said. “This congestion reduced our overall July volume.”

Terminals reopened July 23 after nearly a week of hundreds of truck drivers protesting the implementation of AB5, a state law mandating stronger language for labeling workers as independent contractors. The law that was adopted in 2018 was recently affirmed by the courts after the U.S. Supreme Court elected not to review it.

The protests, which added to an already constrained supply chain, slowed the flow of cargo, especially exports.

“It is estimated that it could take a month before the port traffic will recover from the protest,” the port said.

By Karen Robes Meeks