OAKLAND, Calif. - Cargo operations at the Port of Oakland were shut down on Friday for a fifth day as independent truckers continued protesting a state labor law.
The truckers are fighting to keep their more profitable status as gig workers instead of employees.
A manufacturer and distributor in Benicia that needs to get a lot of boxes out of the port and into their shipping system is evermore concerned.
In the last five days, as many as 50,000 containers have been dead stopped. End to end, those containers would be more than 350-miles long.
Blendjet was founded by four young entrepreneurs five years ago. They came up with compact, portable, rechargeable blenders that make clump-free shakes on the go.
The company sells 5 million of them a year.
Operations Vice President Brian Zuk, a founding member of the company, said, "There's a huge demand for our product. We're never in a situation where we seem to have enough."
The blenders are made in China then shipped on sea containers into the U.S.
"We have containers coming in every week. We have dozens and dozens on the water at any given time," said Zuk.
After two years of pandemic supply chain disruptions, the company learned to over order for normal business operations. But, as people get out and about, major retailers are now ordering massive quantities.
"So, we've never been in a position where we're out of inventory or waiting on containers to arrive," said Zuk.
But the trucker rebellion at the port has kept some 50,000 containers either stranded on the dock or at sea on ships.
In Blendjet's case, there are currently 22 containers stranded at the Port of Oakland, containing 602,000 blenders.
"It was just another punch in the gut. It seemed like we were just starting to come over this hill and getting to a point where things were starting to get somewhat normalized," said Zuk.
Blendjet faces a triple whammy at the moment— the delay of getting already ordered products to customers, introducing new products, and the delays of introducing those products at a growing number of retailers.
Zuk doesn't think operations will get back to normal any time soon.