Many domestic wood processing mills in coastal areas in
eastern Japan suffered extensive damage caused by the
March 11 earthquake and tsunami. It is estimated that a
capacity of 60,000 cu.m of plywood per month has been
Damaged infrastructure and a shortage of fuel brought all
businesses in the region to a halt. As a result, the supply of
plywood in the major markets of Tokyo and Osaka was
badly affected. Other unaffected sawnwood and plywood
mills have plans to increase production to supply wood
materials for restoration work, but they are also suffering
from periodic electricity blackouts.
Ports in Hachinohe, Sendai, Sohma, Onahama and
Hitachinaka are closed and shipments being are diverted to
Tokyo and Kawasaki. Tokyo Lumber Terminal has
secured 49,000 square metres of land as an emergency
storage area reports the Japan Lumber Report (JLR).
The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and
Transport disclosed that some 4,702 buildings were totally
destroyed and 2,496 units half destroyed. In addition,
1,150 units are unsafe with a high risk of collapse.
Tropical plywood processing after quake
The earthquake and tsunami caused devastating damage to
Ofunato Plywood mill which processed tropical hardwood
logs from Southeast Asia. Other tropical plywood
manufacturers experienced only little damage such as
collapsed log and plywood piles. Plywood manufacturers
are now trying to boost production which may push log
prices up, reportsthe JLR.