Truckers protest outside Port of Oakland

Dozens of truck drivers and their supporters picketed outside an Oakland port terminal on Wednesday over what they said was an impending deadline to make expensive upgrades to their trucks and long wait times to pick up loads.

Oakland police kept the protesters away from the entrance to the terminal, and port officials said operations were not disrupted.

The protest was organized by a group of San Francisco Bay Area truckers, who demanded funding to offset the costs of truck upgrades that they said were required beginning in January to meet clean-air standards set by the state.

They also wanted a congestion fee for waits greater than two hours.

“Shorter lines and more efficient terminals mean better working conditions for all the truckers at the port,” trucker Roberto Ruiz said in a statement from the Port of Oakland Truckers Association.

Port spokesman Robert Bernardo said the port does not control the drivers' wages, but has asked trucking companies and terminal operators to address their concerns in light of the higher costs they are facing to meet the air standards.

“We empathize with truckers who serve the Port of Oakland,” he said. “These are tough times for all maritime stake holders.”

But Bernardo said the port supports the standards being enforced by the California Air Resources Board, which he said have already reduced diesel particulate pollution significantly.

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