Since the 4th of July holiday, we have experienced a series of labor disruptions and slowdowns in Oakland. The latest issue was a protest by the Port of Oakland Trucker Association. The protest lasted two days, October 21st and 22nd, and effectively shut down terminal operations one day and limited operations on the other. Drivers want additional pay to offset the expense of purchasing a California Air Resources Board (CARB) compliant truck. Effective January 1, 2014, every truck serving the state’s marine and rail facilities has to be model-year engine 2007 or newer. They are also seeking an extension to the CARB deadline in order to pursue grant and other funding. The final complaint is terminal inefficiencies. Drivers are not able to process as many transactions in a day as they need to in order to make a living. With long queues, extended wait times, container unavailability and chassis chasing, drivers are making half the turns needed.
It’s not as easy as throwing twice the number of drivers at the problem to move the same amount of freight…which is not an option anyway because of the nationwide driver shortage. Even if we could increase the fleet serving Oakland by 100%, it would only create more congestion, more delays and more disgruntled drivers.