Port of Oakland Reopens After Massive Protest

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The Port of Oakland, which protesters shut down entirely on Wednesday evening, reopened on Thursday morning with no damage but a significant backlog in its operations that started days earlier when questionable containers arrived from Vietnam.

As we noted on Wednesday, port workers had refused to unload certain refrigerated containers that had been serviced in Vietnam after several blew up in other ports around the world, killing several longshoremen. "That problem beset the port beginning on the weekend," Craig Merrilees, the communications director for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, said on Thursday. "So there was a considerable backlog of containers that had built up there. That was a totally weird and unrelated problem but it became related in that it added to the backlog."

The port sent out a statement saying it had started to reopen at 8:30 a.m., local time, and that workers were scheduled for their normal shifts. It said nobody was hurt and no property damaged during Wednesday night's demonstration.

Merrilees said the protest's closure of the port from Wednesday evening to Thursday morning had contributed to the existing backlog, but since it was on the evening shift, the damage to productivity wasn't as severe as it could have been. "It’s manageable, and relatively minor in that it was the evening shift that wasn’t able to work," he said. "Folks are back there working on the day shift when most of the work and most of the workers are scheduled. So things are returning to normal."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.