Since it sustained damage on March 11, ships had been unable to berth at Taiheiyo Cement’s Shiogama East Service Station in Shiogama city, Miyagi Prefecture. However, on 18 April the company announced that the facility is now ready to welcome the first cement carrier since the earthquake. Shiogama East is the first of Taiheiyo’s damaged facilities in the region to be repaired, and it will be the first to allow cement carriers to dock again.
The port of arrival is Shiogama Higashi Service Station, 1-6-26 Teizandori, Shiogama city, Miyagi Prefecture and the scheduled arrival was 11:00a.m on Wednesday, April 20. The Daini Ryuoh Maru ship has a painted message of encouragement the people affected by the earthquake which, in English reads: “Keep fighting, Tohoku! Let’s work together to rebuild!” The cargo is 1000t of cement.
Taiheiyo says it is committed to doing its utmost to assist in the recovery of disaster-stricken areas so that evacuees, who are now living in difficult conditions at scattered evacuation sites, can return home and resume their everyday lives with confidence.
In terms of its other cement operations, the company has provided a progress update:
At the company’s mainstay production Ofunato plant, one of the two kilns sustained tsunami damage after the earthquake. The plant remains shut, though, due to damage to raw-material and fuel feeding equipment and to shipment facilities. The plant is also still without power for running equipment. Taiheiyo Cement is working to restore full operations as soon as possible by removing the rubble from facilities and plants and dispatching teams to inspect and assess damaged equipment and launch repairs.
Taiheiyo Cement operates 14 service stations in the Tohoku region. Eight on the Pacific coast sustained damage in the earthquake and subsequent disaster: the Hachinohe East and Hachinohe West Service Stations in Aomori Prefecture; the Shiogama East, Shiogama West, and Sendai Service Stations in Miyagi Prefecture; and the Soma, Onahama North, and Onahama South Service Stations in Fukushima Prefecture. Taiheiyo has sent plant diagnostics teams to all eight facilities to ascertain the extent of damage and gradually begin repairs. Until its service station network has been restored, the company says it will do its utmost to supply cement to earthquake-affected areas via back-up shipments from other service stations, in particular Sakata South (Yamagata Prefecture), Aizu (Fukushima Prefecture), and Yaita (Tochigi Prefecture).
The Shiogama East and Shiogama West Service Stations primarily operate as shipping hubs for Geoset-brand cement used to stabilise foundations. Taiheiyo resumed Geoset shipments using limited facilities at these service stations, which sustained relatively minor damage. Although it will take some time before the two service stations can resume normal operations, the company says it is committed to supplying cement to the best of its ability while it continues repairing damaged facilities.