Protests by independent truckers over Assembly Bill 5, California’s gig worker law, slowed the movement of imports and exports through the Port of Oakland in July, causing the number of containers handled to drop sharply compared to the same month a year ago, port officials said.

The number of loaded and unloaded twenty-foot containers fell by more than 45,000 in July compared to July 2021. It was a 28 percent drop to 116,629 containers.

The volume of inbound goods dropped by nearly 27 percent while outbound goods saw a nearly 31 percent drop during the same year-over-year period.

“The Port was closed nearly a week last month due to the trucker protests voicing concern over AB5,” Port of Oakland maritime director Bryan Brandes said. “This congestion reduced our overall July volume.”

Independent truckers and other independent workers have opposed AB 5 because it limits the flexible nature of their work.

Imports are down 4 percent for 2022, through July, compared to the same period last year. Demand for imports may be declining, port officials said.

Oakland’s port continues to experience supply chain issues and port officials said the protests last month aggravated those issues. Not only did the protests slow the unloading process, but they also hampered the movement of those imports to U.S. stores.

Loading export goods was also hampered by congestion in container yards, and exporters are having a challenging time coordinating shipping activities due to the protests and supply chain constraints.

Port officials said it may be Aug. 25 before the port recovers from the protests.

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.