San Francisco

Bay Area Importers: Port of Oakland Stole Christmas

The Port of Oakland says an increase in ship traffic is creating an increase in cargo on the dock.

Several ships were sitting on the bay Wednesday night waiting to be unloaded. The back-up means importers are waiting weeks for merchandise.

The day before Christmas, Gianfranco Savio's North Beach shop Biordi is packed with unopened boxes. He says a shipping container full of Italian ceramics sat at the Port of Oakland for weeks — he was supposed to get them in November but his merchandise didn't arrive until Monday.

“This is the best time of year — we probably lost thousands of dollars worth of sales,” he said.

Truck drivers at the port say containers are stacking up while they wait for hours to pick up a load.

“I waited four hours to get just one load out of there,” said truck driver Michael Barfield.

The Port of Oakland says off schedule ship arrivals and a labor management dispute on the docks is snarling cargo movement, creating long lines of trucks waiting to enter terminals and leaving container ships sitting in the bay waiting to be unloaded.

Barfield says the slowdown means he's missing out on pay. He gets paid by the load. “We can't get the merchandise unless port releases it and give it to us some days we don't get it some days we do,” he said.

Back at Biordi Savio hopes he can make up for lost sales when he has a chance to unpack and sell his late holiday shipment.

But the delay on the docks may have also cost him valuable customers.

Contact Us