It has become virtually certain that the foreign trade container handlings at the Tokyo Port last year will break the 4 million-TEU barrier, becoming the first port in Japan to achieve such feat. Cumulative throughput at the port in the period of January-November 2011 jumped 8.9% compared to the same period a year earlier to 3,762,141 TEUs, according to preliminary figures. If the throughput in December last year does not drop more than 30% lower than that in December 2010, then it is estimated that the handlings at the port will get on the 4 million-TEU level for the entirety of 2011. It is believed that the overall throughput at Tokyo Port was propped up by the expansion in import cargoes from China and the surge in cargoes related to restoration after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
The volume of foreign trade cargoes handled at Tokyo Port in 2010 was the largest among Japanese ports at 3,816,000 TEUs, with Yokohama and Nagoya ports following behind with 2.99 million TEUs and 2.39 million TEUs, respectively. Now if the throughput last December comes on a par with that of 2010, then the foreign trade container handlings at Tokyo Port will reach a little more than 4.1 million TEUs for the whole of 2011.
Exports of automobile- and chemical-related cargoes that went through the port shrank temporarily in 2011 in light of the damage suffered by the Tohoku region following the Great East Japan Earthquake. However, throughputs in both segments have been regaining lost ground, steadily ballooning on a monthly basis. It also appears that there have been cargoes that shifted to Tokyo Port for loading purposes from the earthquake-hit regions. It seems that the growth in the movement of wood and other restoration-related cargoes, for which a huge demand is projected in light of the earthquake, along with the constant expansion in import cargoes from China, centering on consumer goods, have provided the traction in the growth of the foreign trade container handlings at the port.
Even by month, container handlings at the Tokyo Port surpassed the previous year's records every month from January through November last year. In particular, double-digit surges compared to the same month a year earlier were registered in January (up 14.7% to 306,195 TEUs), May (up 10.1% to 344,741 TEUs), June (14.8% to 368,639 TEUs), August (12.9% to 359,311 TEUs) and October (14.9% to 363,985 TEUs). However, with the sharp rise in nearseas import cargoes centering on China, Tokyo Port has been faced with escalating congestion problems at the Aomi Container Terminal, where calls by nearseas ships are concentrated. The Bureau of Port and Harbor Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Tokyo Port Administration and Tokyo Port Terminal Corp. (TPTC), which undertakes the management and operation of the foreign trade terminals at Tokyo Port, have taken various measures to address the problems, including the early morning gate opening and the formulation of policies to build a waiting area, with the capacity to accommodate about 300 trucks, within the reclaimed land at the central breakwater of the port.