DAMAGING PORT SHUTDOWN MUST END
The Bay Area Council this week (Feb. 13) publicly called for an end to the more than nine-month labor dispute that has brought the Port of Oakland and other West Coast ports to a near standstill. The Port of Oakland alone is the hub of $41 billion in trade activity annually and supports 73,000 jobs around the region. Ports here and in Southern California were shut down completely last weekend and were expected to be closed again this coming weekend for up to five days. Although no specific figures exist on the daily economic cost of a shutdown, the tally likely reaches into the tens of millions of dollars. More gravely, the disruption and shutdowns will have profound and potentially permanent long-term impacts as importers and exporters turn to ports in other parts of the nation to do business. This would be a severe blow following millions of dollars in public investment to upgrade the port to handle larger and more container shipments to remain globally competitive.