Japan to research alternative logistics routes

Japan's transport ministry is looking for new international logistics routes to prepare for future disruptions like the ones caused by the coronavirus pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The ministry is taking the step after container ships were jammed at ports when the world economy was reopening amid the pandemic. Aircraft have been avoiding Russian airspace for safety reasons since the invasion began last year.

The ministry will conduct a trial between March and July to help find alternative routes.

Companies chosen from applicants will transport goods on routes other than conventional ones connecting Japan with Europe and the United States.

Time, costs and procedures will be examined.

The ministry is considering having the firms deliver cargo via ports in Canada and Mexico instead of those on the US West Coast, where container vessels were backed up.

Another likely route will connect Japan with Europe by rail through China.

Senior ministry official Otsubo Hirotoshi says a logjam at one location won't cause long-term supply chain disruptions if Japan has alternative routes.

He adds the ministry wants to secure various options in advance.