Traffic at most leading Japan ports shrank in 2015

Traffic at most leading Japan ports shrank in 2015

Port of Tokyo

All but one of Japan’s five biggest ports posted negative traffic results in 2015 amid growing economic uncertainty both at home and abroad, with only the Port of Kobe weathering the storm well enough to eke out growth.

The ports of Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya and Osaka all saw their international container traffic volumes sink in 2015 as Japan’s exports and imports both remain mired in the doldrums.

Japan’s exports have been hit by a slowdown in China’s economy, the world’s second-largest after the U.S., while its imports have yet to recover from a sales tax hike in 2014, which dampened domestic consumer spending.

The number of containers handled by the Port of Kobe rose 3.1 percent year-over-year to 2.1 million 20-foot equivalent units, which is also the highest figure since 1995, when the port was devastated by a powerful earthquake. Exports were up 2.9 percent at 1.1 million TEUs while imports grew 3.4 percent to 982,000 TEUs.

The Port of Osaka was the worst performer among the five major ports in 2015, with container traffic tumbling 9.4 percent to 2 million TEUs. Exports were down 9.2 percent at 897,000 TEUs, while imports were down 9.5 percent at 1.1 million TEUs.

Traffic at the Port of Tokyo, Japan’s biggest container port in terms of volume, slumped 5.5 percent to 4.1 million TEUs. Exports shrank 6 percent to 1.9 million TEUs, while imports fell 5 percent to 2.2 million TEUs.

The number of foreign trade containers at the Port of Yokohama declined 3.8 percent to 2.5 million TEUs in 2015. Exports were down 4.4 percent at 1.3 million TEUs, while imports were down 3.1 percent at 1.2 million TEUs.

The Port of Nagoya's volume dropped 4.0 percent to 2.5 million TEUs in 2015 as exports were down 3.9 percent at 1.3 million TEUs and imports fell 4 percent to 1.2 million TEUs.

The five major ports, which together account for the bulk of Japan’s overall international container traffic, released their 2015 results between March 16 and March 31.

Contact Hisane Masaki at