From The Marine Executive:
On Sunday night, after not being able to unload at the Port of Oakland, the ZIM Shanghai headed to the Port of Los Angeles. According to The Jewish Press, ZIM may not call on the Port of Oakland again. Other shipping companies wary of the port’s unreliability may also consider the same.
With an estimated 150 ZIM visits a year, that’s a lot of business and perhaps even jobs for the City of Oakland to lose, says the news agency.
The longshoremen of Oakland have claimed that they were physically threatened by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) protestors involved in the blockade of the vessel and that the leadership of their union, the ILWU, is not involved in the demonstrations. The union released a statement after claims arose that some in their leadership were using the BDS protest to bolster their contract negotiating position with the port.
As far as the union can ascertain, the protests are organized by a coalition of individuals and organizations that plan events and create action alerts under the name of "Block the Boat for Gaza" online.
The Port of Oakland is the only port in the United States so far where BDS protesters have been able to intimidate and physically threaten the longshoremen into not working.
Curiouser and curiouser.
On Monday Sept. 29, Clarence Thomas from Local 10 of the ILWU participated in a talk at Laney College, where he described coordinating the protest at the docks with members of the Arab Resource organizing center. This is in direct contradiction to the Union’s formal written statement. Is the union leadership sacrificing the rank and file by making back room deals with extremist groups? Is the union deliberately hiding their role in organizing the protests so they can claim victimhood? Are they using the protests as a bargaining chip in their contract negotiations with the port? Or is Clarence Thomas simply lying?
These are all questions that need answers.
It has been reported that Zim has made the decision that the Port of Oakland is too poorly managed to be a reliable partner in the international shipping business, and is moving their business elsewhere. Other shipping companies, seeing how vulnerable the port is to disturbances may follow suit. And Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is too caught up in her own re-election campaign to pay this issue any attention.
While the BDS holes will likely claim victory over this, there are no winners. The Port of Oakland will now live with the consequences of weak leadership. It has lost more than jobs. It has lost credibility.
Zim has denied reports that it will stop shipping through Oakland.
From a Statement in American Shipper, issued October 2:
ZIM disputed reports that suggest it might end service to the Port of Oakland after demonstrators disrupted cargo operations over the weekend and a ship had to divert of the Port of Los Angeles to discharge cargo. There was a similar protest in August, but that ZIM ship was eventually able to work at a different terminal in Oakland. An article on the website of the Jewish Press newspaper Wednesday reported that "there are questions if ZIM ships will continue to try to use the Port of Oakland anymore." The report was also cited by Maritime Executive . But a spokesman for ZIM said Thursday that "this report isn't accurate. ZIM is not pulling out of Oakland; the customers there are important for the company....
The lack of accurate information from the union, the port and from the media is a continued source of frustration for people attempting to track the situation at the docks.