Protests targeting ZIM Line are expected in Tacoma and Seattle later this week in the wake of demonstrations that disrupted cargo operations at the Port of Oakland.
A group called Palestine Solidarity Committee-Seattle
said it is planning a rally and blockade of the Zim Chicago
when it arrives at the Puget Sound ports, with the objective of preventing the unloading of cargo.
Originally, the demonstrations were planned for today and tomorrow, but the ship was still tied up at the Deltaport terminal in Vancouver on Wednesday evening and is not expected to arrive at the Puget Sound ports until possibly the weekend.
is one of seven ships that ZIM and the G6 carriers operate in a transpacific service between the Pacific Northwest and East Asia.
In Oakland, protesters demonstrating against Israeli military action in Gaza prevented a ZIM ship, the Zim Piraeus, from being worked for several days
. The ship was finally worked Tuesday night and Wednesday morning at the Ports America Outer Harbor Terminal, then departed for Russia Wednesday evening.
was originally scheduled to have cargo discharged and loaded at the Oakland International Container Terminal. Instead, when it arrived on Sunday evening, a large number of protesters demonstrated in front of the terminal, and members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union refused to work the ship.
The ILWU said in a press release Tuesday night that "in the past several days, the vessel has not been able to discharge its cargo due to the volatility associated with a large community demonstration. Volatility on the first day was caused by a high number of demonstrators, coupled with a large police presence at the scene. On the second day, the demonstrators’ numbers had dwindled, but the police numbered more than 100 and posed a threat of their own. Even at the request of the union, the police refused to disperse."
Melvin MacKay, president of ILWU Local 10 stated, “We will not work under armed police escort — not with our experience with the police in this community.”
The union said it has taken no position on Israel's military actions in Gaza, "but must protect the safety of its members, and will not put them between armed police and political demonstrators, where the numbers clearly constitute a volatile situation. In 2003, several longshoremen were injured after being shot by police’s rubber bullets in similar circumstances."
When ILWU members did not show up for work at OICT, ships from other carriers such as NYK and Hanjin also did not get worked.
Finally, in an apparent move to throw off demonstrators, the ZIM ship left its berth in Oakland, sailed through San Francisco Bay on Tuesday afternoon, and then in an apparent attempt to outfox demonstrators, did a u-turn and docked at the Ports America terminal, where ILWU members agreed to work the ship.
Neither the Zim Piraeus
or Zim Chicago
go to Israel, and ZIM Line, which recently underwent a restructuring, is now 32-percent owned by a publicly-trade conglomerate, Israel Corp., compared with 99 percent previously.
Andy Davis, the consul general for Israel in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, said, “There are a lot of unhappy people, Americans” because their cargo moving to and from Asia was delayed because of the demonstrations.
Teamsters Joint Council 7 condemned current efforts to block commerce at the Port of Oakland.
"The Teamsters Union, which represents logistics industry workers at Oakland’s seaport, has suffered job losses over the last two years, as the port has been repeatedly paralyzed by successive protests," the Teamsters said in a press release.
Doug Bloch, political director of Joint Council 7, noted that the Port of Oakland is investing heavily to redevelop the former Oakland Army base into a massive cross-dock and logistics center to compete with facilities in the Central Valley. Instead of cargo being trucked out of the port and back into the Bay area, logistics could be done close to the port in Oakland, providing local jobs and reducing traffic.
"As we speak, developers are going out and marketing the Port of Oakland to retailers, shippers, and potential customers to the port.
How do you expect to attract commerce to the port when there is no guarantee the terminals are not going to be shut down over a political issue that really has nothing to do with port traffic?" he said.