Huge earthquake sees services suspended in Japan
Post and parcel services in Japan have been severely disrupted after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami on Friday.
The quake struck at 2.46pm local time, approximately 250 miles north east of Tokyo at a depth of 20 miles.
Hundreds of people have been reported dead, with vast numbers reported missing.
The subsequent tsunami washed away cars, ships and buildings, with several fires burning across Tokyo as a result of the damage.
A fire is also currently raging at a nuclear power plant in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture.
Japan’s Kyodo News reported that the earthquake is “the strongest ever to have been observed in the quake-prone archipelago by the Japan Meteorological Agency”.
Both Haneda and Narita airports, with the latter serving as the main international gateway in and out of Japan, have been closed.
Sendai Airport has been closed and evacuated after the tsunami left the terminal and runway under water.
FedEx has suspended services across eastern Japan. Speaking to Post&Parcel, spokesperson Nira Gale said: “Our priority is the safety of our employees and the security of our customers’ packages.
“We are monitoring the situation closely. At this stage, all pick up and deliveries in East Japan are suspended. We are continuing to accept shipments to Japan.
“We urge our customers to go to fedex.com or contact the local Customer Service team for the status of their shipments.”
A TNT spokesperson told Post&Parcel that none of the company’s employees had been injured in the earthquake. He confirmed that services had been suspended across the affected region, with the company still gathering information.
A DHL spokesperson said: “Deutsche Post DHL extends its sympathy to the people that are affected.
“First reports indicate that DHL staff are safe, although DHL buildings in Tokyo and along the east coast have been damaged.
“DHL’s operations have been affected across north-eastern Japan and investigations are underway on the full extent of the impact. Meanwhile, a tsunami warning has been extended accross the Pacific.
“We’re closely monitoring the situation and updating customers of the impact.”
UPS said it was able to continue operating all day in Osaka, western and central Japan with daily flights in and out through Osaka Airport. The company has on average five to six flights into and out of Japan each day, including to and from the US and intra-Asia.
Spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg said services were suspended in East Japan and affected areas in Northern Japan, including Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Yamanashi and Shizuoka. Customers in affected areas would experience service delays, she added.
Rosenberg said UPS contingency plans were in effect, which had seen some volumes destined for Tokyo diverted via Osaka.
UPS said it did expect to resume flight operations into Tokyo when Narita airport re-opened, expected to be around 9pm GMT.
More to follow…
(Facts accurate at time of reporting, 9.30pm GMT, Friday 11 March)