Up to 40 percent of Japan's container traffic would be affected if the risk of nuclear radiation from the badly damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant forces the closure of ports in Tokyo Bay, according to Alphaliner.
The ports of Tokyo and Yokohama handled 7.5 million 20-foot equivalent units in 2010, or 38 percent of total Japanese container throughput, the Paris-based analyst said.
Japanese authorities March 22 began testing for radiation in sea water near the Fukushima plant 150 miles north of Tokyo that was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
The authorities say some of the sea water used to cool down the reactors and their spent fuel pods, has spilled back into the sea.
Radiation in Japan news from JOC:
Japan Releases Radiation Information
Alphaliner said current assessment of the situation in Japan has been sketchy and often conflicting with media overstating the impact on the shipping sector.
Of the ports that suffered serious damage only seven handle container cargo -- Sendai, Hachinohe, Hitachinaka, Ohahama, Kashima, Ofunato and Ishinomaki.
These ports handled 245,900 TEUs in 2010, or 1.3 percent of total Japanese container traffic in 2010. The largest of the seven, Sendai, handled 155,611 TEUs last year.
The impact on the leading shipyards likely will be minimal, according to Alphaliner.
All known containership orders at Japanese shipbuilders are at yards in the west of the country and escaped the brunt of the earthquake. But the 18 vessels on order for delivery in 2011-13 likely will face minor delays due to disruptions to supplies of steel and equipment from quake-affected areas.
Join us for a free webcast Friday on rebuilding Japan supply chains with two MIT logistics experts, from Journal of Commerce & PIERS http://bit.ly/hjVkm1
-- Contact Bruce Barnard at firstname.lastname@example.org.