Japanese earthquake – update

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15th March: The UPS Foundation has pledged $1 million for the relief efforts.  It will provide in-kind transport for emergency supplies and trained humanitarian logistics personnel. UPS is coordinating with its existing relief agency partners, including the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, to determine their needs.

CMA CGM has offered a number of containers to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Médecins Sans Frontières and the UN’s World Food Program for the deliver aid.

DHL has said it is doing the best it can to keep goods flowing in and out of the country, while following all guidelines and rules applied by Japanese authorities. “DHL flight and import-export operations are up and running and pick-up-and-delivery services are operating, however partly with some delays. There are temporary service suspensions in non-accessible or hard-to-reach areas in north-eastern Japan. This includes port operations at Sendai. Tokyo and Yokohama seaports currently do not accept new bookings and customers are informed to expect delays of inbound shipments.”

The Japanese government has deployed 100,000 troops for search and rescue, and about 70 nations and many private companies have offered assistance  following the earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that hit North Eastern Japan on Friday.

Mitsui OSK Lines has donated some £400,000 for support and rescue efforts. At the request of the government, MOL Ferry has provided four ferries to transport vehicles and members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces into north-east Japan.

FedEx says it will work with the American Red Cross, Heart to Heart International, Water Missions and Direct Relief International to assist in sending critical medical and other emergency supplies.

DHL said: “It is too early to analyze how we can help. We are on standby for a call for action from the United Nations who authorizes our disaster response tream activites.”

Owing to conditions on the ground, service delays are anticipated within eastern Japan.

UPS operations are currently suspended in parts of eastern Japan, including Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, as well as Yamanashi, Shizuoka and other affected areas in northern Japan. Customers in affected areas will experience service delays. It says its services in western and central Japan are operating normally.

FedEx has stopped accepting shipments destined for Tokyo’s Narita airport from all locations effective immediately. It is still to account for some of its staff in Japan. It requests that customers go to fedex.com or call its customer services line to check the status of their shipments.

DHL has confirmed that its buildings in Tokyo and along the east coast have been damaged by the earthquake.

MOL says it has suffered no maritime accidents, but the MOL-chartered CS Victory was carried toward the breakwater by the tsunami and now rests on the bottom of the shallow harbor at Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture. All the crew members left the vessel safely. None of the cargo or fuel oil has spilled from the vessel.

CMA CGM,says none of its ships were impacted, and that it will remain mobilised as long as necessary to bring aid to the Japanese population and ensure the continuity of its operations and services for its customers.

Effects on the economy are yet to be seen.  Some of the country’s leading producers, including the world’s biggest car maker, Toyota, have closed all of their plants in the country. The central bank has injected a record £114 billion into money markets, to limit disruption to the Tokyo stock market.

ITF general secretary David Cockroft wrote to Japanese trade unions offering help and condolences. He said: “Time and the superb Japanese rescue effort, aided by international teams, have revealed that the damage and loss of life is even worse than first feared.”

“The people of Japan are well prepared for these events but the sheer size of this one could have overwhelmed all preparations. Thankfully there has been great bravery shown in saving lives, and maybe we can allow ourselves to feel some pride that transport workers have figured widely in reports of passengers being safely evacuated from trains, and cared for at the affected airports. The news of our members in the seaports is likely to be grimmer.

“We are in constant touch with our personnel and members in Japan, who are doing their best to support the Japanese people, despite, often, the loss of their workplaces, infrastructure and union offices. We have placed the ITF at their disposal and are also assisting our members unions worldwide to offer practical support.”

The Red Cross has set up an appeal to help victims of the disaster. If you would like to make a donation click here.

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