The Occupy protest Monday erased millions of dollars in economic activity linked to the besieged Port of Oakland and harmed middle-class truck drivers, port officials and truckers said Tuesday.
"For the day, it was a loss of $4 million to $8 million, easily," said Isaac Kos-Read, director of external affairs for the Port of Oakland. "The ripple effects are much greater than that."
The Oakland port, which was hit by a similarly costly Occupy protest in November, generates about $8.5 million a day in economic activity, he said. Yet the economic impact extends well beyond the port facilities. Imports from Asia, along with exports from places such as the Central Valley's farming hubs, are also affected by port shutdowns or disruptions.
"The port activities support wages that are paid, taxes that are paid, business revenue that is collected," Kos-Read said.
Demonstrations by the Occupy movement at the entrances to the Oakland commerce hub disrupted the operations of six out of seven terminals Monday, idled longshoremen and other dock workers, and forced truck drivers to delay deliveries and pickups.
"The Occupy people say they respect the 99 percent, when they disrespect and disrupt what we do," said Lavelle Brown, an independent trucker who lives in San Francisco. "If they want to protest the 1 percent, they should go to the Financial district."
But another independent trucker, Andy Sanchez, of Fresno, said he supports the
"They are helping us. They are for the people," Sanchez said. "A lot of people are suffering. A lot of people don't have jobs or are losing houses."
On Monday, three Oakland port terminals were shut all day, and three suffered partial disruptions. Only one terminal operated all day.
Truck drivers on Tuesday said they lost $500 to $1,000 each by not being able to drop off or pick up cargo because of the port occupation this week. And they said they had to spend hours in line Tuesday because of work orders that were delayed Monday.
Port officials also noted that the demonstrations prevented members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union from handling cargo at the docks Monday. The port has about 2,000 ILWU workers, who make between $100,000 and $200,000 a year.
Asa Dodsworth, a Berkeley-based supporter of the Occupy efforts, conceded that the demonstrations did harm members of the 99 percent. Dodsworth, though, insisted that the protest was justified.
"It's unfortunate that the truck drivers would suffer," he said. "But everything is interconnected. The activists involved in Occupy would be honored to undertake some sort of action to help truck drivers unionize and get better wages."
Dodsworth believes the Occupy movement will become more surgical with its efforts as it gains experience in its protests.
"We will find more effective means to take action," he said. "Hopefully we will find other techniques that don't burden a group like the truckers as much."
While truck drivers waited Tuesday in lines that stretched for blocks, they were left to ponder this week's impact on their livelihoods -- and future effects were the demonstrators to return for a third blockade.
"I'm trying to figure out what these people want with their movement," said John Carino, a Tracy resident and truck driver who was attempting to deliver rice. "I'm trying to make a living doing this. These shutdowns are hurting us."
Truckers can be charged fees of $100 a day if cargo isn't delivered on time, according to an East Bay trucking firm.
Staff writer Cecily Burt contributed to this report.