Japanese ports and airports suffered minor damage in the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the northeastern part of Japan. Shipping firms say although some ships ran aground, they suffered relatively minor damage.
The Port of Tokyo and the Port of Yokohama, the country's largest and second-largest container ports, suffered no serious damage.
Narita airport near Tokyo and Haneda airport in Tokyo were closed in the wake of the earthquake but had reopened by Monday. The airport in Sendai, the city hit directly by the tsunami, remained closed but officials hoped to open it soon for desperately needed relief flights.
A spokesman at NYK Line said the company's ship operations at main international ports remain unaffected. "As for our future operations, we do not know how they will be affected," he said.
He said the company will be closely watching progress in reconstruction efforts, including in production activities, distribution networks and transport systems. "Like other (shipping) firms, we are gleaning information intensively," he said.
Japan's big three shipping firms reported minor damage to several cargo ships from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the northeastern part of the country on March 11.
NYK Line, MOL and "K" Line all said they are not sure yet what impact the disaster will have on their future business.
Three bulk carriers operated by NYK Line ran aground at ports in Fukushima Prefecture.
A Panamanian-registered bulk carrier chartered by MOL was swept away toward a breakwater by the tsunami and now rests on the bottom in shallow water at a port in Miyagi Prefecture.
A bulk carrier operated by "K" Line ran aground at a port in Ibaraki Prefecture.
The three Japanese shipping firms said that all the crew members of the vessels are safe.
MOL's ship operations at main international ports, including the Port of Tokyo and the nearby Port of Yokohama, have not been affected. "But we do not know what impact it (the disaster) will have on our operations in the future," a spokeswoman said.
A spokeswoman at All Nippon Airways said all the carrier's international flight services and most domestic flight services — both passenger and cargo — have already returned to normal.
But Kintetsu World Express, Japan's second-largest international forwarder, warned in a statement on Monday that the planned rationing of power in Tokyo and eight nearby prefectures is expected to "cause a significant delay" in the handling of cargo at airports as well as the land transportation of cargo.
Power supplies will also be restricted in the northeastern part of the country for an extended period.
Tokyo Electric Power, Japan's biggest electric utility, said on Sunday that it will embark on an unprecedented planned rationing of power in its service areas from Monday to prevent Tokyo and eight nearby prefectures from experiencing massive blackouts. The planned rationing of power is expected to last until the end of April.
As of 10:00 a.m. on Monday (Japan time), 1,627 people were confirmed dead -- 643 of them in Miyagi Prefecture, the worst hit area -- and 1,720 others were missing, according to the National Policy Agency.
The center of the quake was located 80 miles off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture and 93 miles northeast of Tokyo. The quake caused widespread damage. It also triggered explosions at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.
Casualties from the 8.9 magnitude earthquake are expected to rise further. The number of dead in Miyagi Prefecture alone will likely surpass 10,000, Naoto Takeuchi, the prefecture's police chief, said on Sunday.
The disaster is expected to have a profound impact on the Japanese economy, the world's third-largest after the United States and China.
Many factories in a wide range of industries, including those of Toyota, Nissan and Sony, halted production.
The distribution systems are in disarray in many parts of the country. Even in the Tokyo metropolitan area, many train services remained heavily disrupted on Monday.
-- Contact Hisane Masaki at email@example.com.