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Japan shipping congestion

Chennai, India: The import of perishable items from Japan could be affected in the short term as major shipping lines skip calls at some Japanese ports.

The earthquake that devastated the north eastern part of Japan has made 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 and Chennai could be the seriously affected.

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 at the Japanese ports of Yokhoma, Nagoya and Tokyo, and it could spread to the transhipment ports.

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

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.