The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) says the Japanese grain industry has been making significant strides and should regain its normal feed mill production capacity within the next few months. 



 “Assuming significant escalation of the nuclear power plant issues will not arise and in spite of the horrendous losses suffered in Japan, the council believes the consumer demand in Japan will remain strong and will drive continued imports of U.S. coarse grains,” says Tommy Hamamoto, USGC director in Japan. “In the short term, logistical issues will continue to be a problem, but the Japanese feed industry is working hard to recover from the damage. By April or May, the council is hopeful Japan will recover and return to a somewhat normalcy.”

As previously reported by the council, four of Japan’s major importing facilities and attached feed mills were severely damaged by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan on March 11. These four facilities account for approximately 3.66 million metric tons (mmt) of compound feed production per year – around 15% of Japan’s total annual compound feed production of 25 mmt.

Another mill, which accounts for an additional 15%, suffered some damage but compound feed production has already partially resumed. 

“Japan is prepared to cover the feed loss by facilities coming back online and increased production in unaffected mills. These [unaffected] mills are sending feed supplies in small vessels to affected areas,” Hamamoto says.

 “There are currently bottlenecks: the capacity of unaffected ports to unload redirected shipments and storage limitations; impeded passage of ships through channels caused by debris in shipping lanes; increased transportation costs, fuel supplies and shortage of trucks and ships; and power needed for production and processing. USGC hopes those serious bottlenecks will be short-term setbacks in the recovery efforts.”