Imports may be hit as major lines decide to skip some Japanese ports

T.E. Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on March 17, 2011 Published on March 17, 2011

mv Maersk Miami sailing off from Chennai Port

Import of electronic parts, automobile spare parts and perishable items from Japan could be affected in the short term as major shipping lines have decided to skip some Japanese ports.

The March 11 earthquake has devastated the north eastern part of Japan making port and operational facilities in the area either unavailable or inaccessible. The earthquake and the subsequent tsunami have affected the entire supply chain in the island.

Chennai Gateway

The telecom and automobile clusters in and around Chennai could be the ‘worst' affected as Chennai port is the gateway to most of the telecom companies for the imports, say sources in the shipping industry.

Every month 3,500-5,000 containers with cargoes as automobile spare parts, electronic parts and perishable items (mostly for Japanese people living here) come to the Chennai port. On the export front, nearly 1,500 boxes with cargoes such as textiles and sea food are sent to Japan every month, said a shipping source.

There is no direct shipping service between Chennai and the Japanese ports. The boxes are transhipped at Singapore, Hong Kong and Port Klang ports. Shipping sources said congestion is slowly building up at the Japanese ports of Yokhoma, Nagoya and Tokyo, and it could spread to the transhipment ports.

Shipping line, OOCL, in a customer advisory said its ships Dresden Express and Kiel Express will omit their Tokyo/Nagoya calls at this stage.

Bookings stopped

APL said with immediate effect it will temporarily cease all bookings destined to Hitachinaka and Kashima in Ibaraki prefecture; Ishinomaki, Ofunato, Shiogama and Sendai in Miyagi prefecture; Onahama and Shirakawa in Fukushima prefecture and Hachinohe in Aomori. Similarly, Maersk said that due to the closures during Friday and Saturday, there is congestion in the ports of Tokyo and Yokohama. There are no commercial restrictions in booking with Maersk Line to or via Japan. However, services to and from Sendai, Hachinohe, and Onahama have been suspended. Depending on how the situation develops, it may be decided to deviate vessels.

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Published on March 17, 2011
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