of New Orleans officials are reporting a 50 percent cargo
volume drop as a strike by independent truckers continues
at the port's two container entry locations. They earlier
reported a 40 percent drop.
traffic through the port, which normally runs at about
1,000 boxes per week, was off by 50 percent April 23, port
Executive Director Gary LaGrange said, as reported by the Times-Picayune.
A week ago, LaGrange said traffic had fallen between 25
percent and 40 percent because of the strike.
courageous group of truckers have decided to roll up their
sleeves and shout, ‘I'm fed up, and I'm not going to take
it anymore',” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president
of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. “This
isn't an isolated issue – truckers serving ports
in Savannah, Los Angeles, Oakland and all over the country
are having a really tough time surviving, and they deserve
consideration of their efforts from all other truckers.”
striking New Orleans truckdrivers work as contractors for
about 20 local trucking firms that provide dispatching
services and act as middlemen between drivers and shipping
backs are up against the economic wall, Spencer says, “having
had to absorb steadily rising costs of buying and maintaining
their rigs, purchasing fuel and all other costs associated
with maintaining a small business while their revenues
have been steadily eroded the past two decades.”
destined for New Orleans will increase in value because
of this situation – however, if carriers, shippers and
receivers don't want to pay New Orleans truckers, the cargo
rightly should sit right where it is,” Spencer added.
rumors have surfaced concerning personal property damage,
rock throwingand tire cutting said to affect truckers who
opt to do business as usual. New Orleans Harbor Police
told Land Line there had been no incidents.
Authority Communications Manager Paul Dauphin said, “We
have been getting people spreading rumors that trucks have
been damaged or that rocks have been thrown. We have police
on duty 24hoursaday at the two ports. There are a lot of
eyes out there, and nothing has happened.”
sources told Land Line the truckers know each other
and where they park, so it's possible some damage is done
at night away from port areas. Most of the truckers are
short-haul drivers who carry containers and other port
cargo between local wharves, warehouses and railroad yards.
Kansas City Southern, one of six major railroads serving
the city, has rerouted several hundred containers that
normally pass through New Orleans each week because the
company can't find truckers to move the cargo through the
city, KCS Executive Vice President and Chief Operating
Officer Gerald Davies said, the Times-Picayune reported.
now headed for the Port of New Orleans may not know anything
about this situation,” OOIDA's Spencer said. “It's obviously
in the interest of some in New Orleans to downplay the
possible effects of the strike. However, I would ask trucking
companies to get up to speed on this situation and inform
their drivers headed for New Orleans – but I fear there
are darned few companies willing to tell drivers ahead
of time they may be steering into a hot zone
Dick Larsen, senior editor
Larsen can be reached at email@example.com.