Japanese Grain Import Demand to Remain High

Japanese Grain Import Demand to Remain High

The U.S. Grain Council said consumer demand in Japan will drive imports of coarse grains from the U.S. despite the damage caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

However, there are still bottlenecks in the supply chain, according to Tommy Hamamoto, the council’s Japan director. He said that ports now in operation have limited capacity for unloading and storing grain. In addition transportation costs are being affected by higher fuel prices and truck shortages.

USGC said that all told, mills that produce some 30 percent of Japan’s annual feed production – 25 million tons – had sustained some damage by the quake and tsunami. ‘

As of Wednesday, feed mills at three of five grain ports had returned to limited operations after severe damage in the twin disasters. A fourth said it could take a year for full recovery. The port of Sendai, at the heart of the earthquake zone, sustained severe damage and reported no progress.

-- Contact R.G. Edmonson at bedmonson@joc.com.