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Japan’s earthquake may disrupt global supply chain

The Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach – the nation’s largest ocean cargo gateway – continues to load and offload container vessels, but “is taking precautionary measures” in response to the tsunami advisory.
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
March 11, 2011

U.S. West Coast seaports and airports remain on high alert today, following the devastating earthquake that struck Japan on Friday.

The Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach – the nation’s largest ocean cargo gateway – continues to load and offload container vessels, but “is taking precautionary measures” in response to the tsunami advisory.

“As a precaution, we have temporarily suspended the transfer of hazardous materials and bunker fuel operations,” said port spokesman, Phillip Sanfield.

In an interview with LM, he said that port police and security forces remain “vigilant,” and that no extreme action has been necessary to date.

A tsunami advisory means that a tsunami capable of producing strong currents or dangerous waves could occur. Significant inundation is not expected for areas under an advisory.

Michael C. McCarron, spokesman for San Francisco International Airport (SFO) told LM that so far, that have been no disruptions in freight operations as a consequence of the quake.

“We are posting updates on our website,” he said. “But we don’t anticipate an emergency warning.”

SFO is the largest airport serving outbound cargo to Asia.

Meanwhile, coastal regions across Asia are now braced for possible tsunamis caused by the tremors over the coming hours.

“It is too early to assess the extent of the damage caused by the powerful earthquake and tsunami as aftershocks and possible tsunamis remain ongoing risks,” said spokesmen for IHS Global Insight, a consultancy with key offices in Japan.

Owing to the extensive damage caused to infrastructural networks in Japan, particularly in the north-west, IHS Global Insight has downgraded the operational risk rating by 0.5, from 2.25 to 1.75.

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About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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