THIS IS A 10 P.M. EDT UPDATE
Occupy Oakland protesters halted nighttime operations at the Port of Oakland Wednesday as they took the city's version of the spreading national protests to the gates of California's third-largest port.
Maritime operations were "effectively shut down," port spokesman Isaac Kos-Read told The Los Angeles Times. The real impact was unclear because the port has minimal activity at night.
Estimates of the marchers that walked from Oakland's downtown business district to the port ranged from 4,500 to 10,000.
The Occupy Oakland movement’s call for a general strike at the Port of Oakland had a minimal impact on daytime operations, but terminal operators were bracing for potential disruptions during the evening shift.
International Longshore and Warehouse Union locals have voiced support for the 5 p.m. march at the port, but the union hasn’t directed members to join protestors. Occupy Oakland is one of the more ambitious off-shoots of the Occupy Wall Street movement that has been underway in New York for several weeks.
As a result of the call for a general strike, terminals “may have been about 40 jobs short,” said Jim McKenna, president of the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents shipping lines and terminal operators. If the marchers do descend on the port this evening, longshoremen may decide not to cross the picket lines because of safety reasons, he said.
The mid-week night shift in Oakland is generally not a busy period. Most of the night shift hours are worked toward the end of the week in line with vessel arrivals.
McKenna said harbor truckers may be the group that loses the most work opportunities Wednesday night because truckers are paid by the trip. They can’t haul containers if they are not allowed into the terminals.