The blaze burned into Tuesday and all container terminals at the Los Angeles port and adjacent Long Beach harbor were shut down for most of the day, and a few thousand employees–mainly longshore workers–were sent home.
According to AP, a welding accident ignited an 800-foot-long wharf, which housed a cargo-processing warehouse almost as long. Scuba divers and firefighters worked in tandem to out the blaze using fireboats to spray the wharf with water and foam, and most of the fire was contained within 2.5 hours. The warehouse reportedly did not catch fire, although the dock was burned and cargo ships had to move away from berths nearby.
The fire continued through Tuesday evening, but by the 6 p.m. shift, seven of the eight Port of Los Angeles container terminals were back in operation. The eighth terminal reopened Wednesday morning.
Together, the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports handle 40 percent of U.S. import trade, and the L.A. port alone handles roughly $780 million worth of cargo on average each day.
The economic impact of the fire won’t be known until the content of the cargo is surveyed, but according to AP, “the consequences of delays in moving that much product will reverberate down the supply chain — from truckers who wouldn’t get paid for the day to exporters and retailers whose products won’t show up right on time.”