California’s Port of Oakland today is praising its dockworkers and their waterfront colleagues for sustaining international trade despite the prolonged strain of working in an “essential sector” as the rest of the economy shrinks and shelters in the face of the Covid-19 health crisis.
Workers in several logistics sectors have asked their employers to provide better protective devices and cleaning measures to protect them from coronavirus infection, leading some companies to offer wage hikes and paid sick leave to avoid the strikes and walkouts that have occurred in some warehouses and stores.
Port leaders in Oakland said the facility is now operating normally despite a shelter-in-place order issued by its home area of Alameda County, and has plentiful supplies of the containers and chassis required to transport cargo. With sufficient labor and equipment, the port is operating full vessel and cargo operations at its marine terminals, although the facilities have curtailed their operating hours for preventative cleaning to prevent the spread of coronavirus. In addition, vessel schedules have now stabilized, after shipping lines cut 20 voyages to Oakland between February and April.
“Ports including Oakland have been declared essential infrastructure and must keep operating for the public good and the future of trade,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said in a release. “That couldn’t happen without the waterfront work force that keeps cargo moving. Dockworkers, truckers, all of those on the front line of the supply chain have earned our sincerest gratitude.”
The port’s message came two days before Sunday’s Western Hemisphere Ports Day, an annual salute to maritime laborers including 650,000 people in the U.S. alone, according to the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA).
“In this time of uncertainty and fear about what to expect next, port workers and their logistics partners are laboring around the clock to keep vital consumer goods, medical supplies, energy and raw materials moving,” AAPA President and CEO Chris Connor said in a release. “While taking all necessary precautions against spreading the virus themselves, our maritime workforce continues to deliver vital goods and services, ship exports, and connect farmers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers to the global marketplace.”
Another organization honoring logistics workers for doing their jobs under coronavirus conditions is SmartDrive Systems, a San Diego, California-based vendor of truck driver video safety platforms. The company has created an "Everyday Heroes in Transportation" program to highlight the critical work of drivers, dispatchers, and fleet managers. SmartDrive is asking fleets to nominate employees who are prioritizing safety while continuing to ensure goods are delivered quickly in these challenging times. Once a week, the company will award one winner with a $100 gift card and public appreciation.
We’d like to recognize these outstanding professionals through our “Everyday Heroes in Transportation” program. Nominate your hero today and they’ll be entered to win a weekly $100 gift card: https://t.co/yh4rL2qraM #trucking #transportation pic.twitter.com/WoMZMF6ZZs— SmartDrive Systems (@SmartDriveInc) March 30, 2020