First panamax shipment due in Japans Kashima Port

by World Grain Staff
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) said on April 21 that the Japanese government has released the latest tally of earthquake tsunami damage to the nation’s agricultural sector.

More than 59,000 acres in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures were flooded and may be polluted with high levels of salt.

Total farmland losses across 16 prefectures are estimated at $3.39 billion, and facility and equipment losses are valued at $2.47 billion.

The losses of livestock facilities, crops and animals are estimated at $84 million as of April 11.

The Japanese government also reported significant condition problems among surviving livestock in affected areas, due to disruption of normal feeding.

On a more positive note, the six feed mills in Hachinohe are expected to produce their normal varieties of compound feed, beginning this week, and breakwaters at Hachinohe port are being repaired and the port draft is being restored to 13 meters (42.6 feet).

The USGC’s Tokyo office also reports that the first panamax grain vessel is scheduled to berth at Kashima port within the next few days, and that Kashima’s 12 feed millers produced more than 32,000 tonnes of compound feed in March despite the earthquake.

Three Kashima facilities produced more feed this March than in 2010 to help cover demand in the Tohoku area.

Japan’s southern grain ports were not affected by the earthquake and tsunami and have been able to compensate for the closures at northern ports. Similarly, Japanese feed manufacturers have increased production at unaffected mills to maintain feed supplies.

As of April 7, Japan’s purchases of U.S. corn (year-to-date sales plus outstanding purchases) totaled 10.6 million tonnes (418.8 million bushels), a 1.5% increase from the 10.5 million tonnes (412.5 million bushels) purchased at the same time last year.
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