Japan’s major chem ports continue ops, some disruptions seen

14 March 2011 08:45  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Japan’s Kashima and Sendai ports have been closed in the wake of the earthquake on 11 March, but major chemical ports in the western and central parts of the country are running, industry sources said on Monday.

Shipowners said the operations at chemical ports on Japan’s west coast have not been affected, but some ports on the country’s east coast were closed.

“We just had a ship berth at Shimotsu this morning and haven’t heard any warnings of potential port closures,” said a shipowner based in Singapore.

A South Korean chemical tanker operator said the port of Chiba in central Japan was open and that one of its vessels had been berthed there on Sunday night.

“The vessel berthed last night to discharge a cargo of chemicals and is expected to sail off today [Monday] afternoon – smoothly,” the shipowner said.

Meanwhile, the port at Yokkaichi in central Japan was still up and running, but those of Kashima and Sendai were closed in the wake of the massive earthquake, according to shipowners.

However, certain terminals in Yokkaichi and Chiba may be shut as the naval infrastructure of those ports was damaged by the resultant tsunami, said a shipowner.

The extent of the damage could not be determined at the time of writing.

A leading South Korean container line operator told ICIS that its operations were running normally and it had two vessels berth at Tokyo and Yokkaichi on Monday morning.

However, a source at its operations department said the company was cautious and monitoring the situation.

On a separate note, a Japanese shipowner told ICIS that some shipping activities on the country’s northeast coast continue to be disrupted in the wake of the disaster.

“We heard some ships [that are] laden with cargo have been stranded, as the ship’s crew was evacuated for safety, and force majeure has been declared by some charterers,” said the shipowner.

“The shipping community in Asia is now closely monitoring the situation and will take all precautions for the safety of their vessels and crew,” said a shipbroker in Singapore.

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By: Lester Teo

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