US Port of Oakland resumes full ops as trucker protests continue
HOUSTON (ICIS)-Full operations have resumed at the US Port of Oakland after truck drivers protesting California's labour law Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) effectively shut down the port last week. The truckers are protesting because the new law would require them to be paid employees instead of independent contractors, the business model that as many as 70,000 owner-operators in the state use. Local authorities set up free speech zones in an effort to open the port back up to truck traffic, and Kimberly Sulsar-Campos, vice president of Oakland-based Iraheta Bros Trucking, confirmed that the protestors have complied.
Independent contractor drivers associated with her company are participating in the protest, she said, and she has been supporting them in any way she can. Danny Wan, Port of Oakland executive director, thanked the truck drivers and law enforcement. "The truckers have been heard and we now urge them to voice their grievances with lawmakers, not the Port of Oakland," Wan said.
The city of Oakland, regional and state law enforcement are continuing to monitor and implement measures to keep traffic flowing, Wan added. The Port said that last week's protests have prevented the timely flow of international commerce including medical supplies, agricultural products, auto and technology parts, livestock and manufacturing parts. The Port of Oakland is the eighth largest port in the US.
Along with containers, the port also handles imports and exports of liquid chemicals. Container ships are relevant to the chemical industry because while most chemicals are liquids and are shipped in tankers, container ships transport polymers such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), which are shipped in pellets.
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