“Occupy” movement fails to shut down ports
December 12, 2011
As expected, the “Occupy” movement’s plans to shut down West Coast ports proved to be largely symbolic, having a minimal impact on cargo operations at most major ocean cargo gateways.
Traffic at both the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were unaffected, with marchers diverted by law enforcement officers away from terminal operations.
The Pacific Northwest ports of Portland and Seattle were less fortunate, however, with protesters managing to shut down terminals operated by Stevedore Services of America (SSA Marine).
Marilyn Sandifur, a spokesmen for the Port of Oakland, told the trade press that a great deal of “misinformation” was being circulated by “Occupy” forces.
“While news reports today have for the most part accurately described protest activity at the Port of Oakland today, some incorrect information and rumors persist,” she said. “The port would like to separate fact from rumor.”
Chief among those “myths,” said Sandifur, was that the port had been closed. While sporadic interruptions took place in the morning, trucks continued to move cargo.
“No ships were loaded or unloaded today,” said Sandifur. “Yard and gate operations at some terminals continued regarding cargo that had already been unloaded. Some terminals could not operate at all because of protesters.”
Port spokesmen added that under the labor agreement between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), an arbitrator may be called to determine if it is safe for workers to report to work.
“In this case, PMA decided not to call out the arbitrator. It remains possible that the ILWU may still request an arbitration to determine if they should to be paid for the inability to report to work but at no time today was an arbitrator called,” said spokesmen.
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