Slowdown continues at Port of Oakland regardless of tentative agreement

OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) -- The Port of Oakland has become the focal point of ongoing problems that has strangled productivity at all 29 West Coast ports in recent weeks. Despite a monumental back up at the port and an announced labor settlement, this week doesn't look much different than last week.

It was an all too familiar look at the port with next to nothing going on regardless of last Friday's announced port dispute settlement. In fact, only one terminal was in full operation working to load and unload a single ship despite the huge backup.

"We have 9 vessels at berth, 18 vessels awaiting berth. Vessel operations are limited. That's because there's a temporary shortage of experienced crane operators." said the Port of Oakland's Communications Chief Mike Zampa.

Over the weekend, most West Coast ports returned to and remained at full operations. But in Oakland, there were some slowdowns with an arbitrator ruling on Sunday that the union engaged in an illegal work stoppage.

"Right now. we don't see any improvements. Actually, it's gotten worse," said Bill Aboudi of AB Trucking. "We should be full blast, working 24/7 right now to catch up on this backlog."

As long as the terminals will not accept containers and cranes remain still, the backlog will continue to grow and get worse.

"In reality, the steamship line and the terminal operators are not accepting empties and not releasing loads. So we can't deliver our customers loads," said Aboudi.

Many drivers continue to keep the world from the door.

"Just having to rob Peter to pay Paul," quips Bill Cisco an independent port trucker. Hopes that the massive backup will be cleared in six to eight weeks following four to five months of slowdown seem unfounded.

"We go back to 2002. They were locked out for 10 days and it took 3 months," said Aboudi.

Full activity at the port was supposed to resume with full operations at 7 p.m. Monday night.