China trade offsets losses
THE slowdown in the Japanese economy did not affect Yokohama as much as it did other major ports in Japan.
The port experienced a slight decline in exports, but this was offset by a rise in imports. One of the reasons for this development was the sharp increase in trade with China.
China, which ranked second in both exports and imports to the United States in 1993, retained second place in Yokohama's exports last year, and replaced the US at the head of the port's imports.
In December, full container ships made 421 calls on Yokohama compared with 392 in the previous year.
Throughout the year, there was a sharp rise in monthly calls by ships on the China route.
Vessels calling at the Port of Yokohama last year totalled 56,943, up 2.2 per cent from the 1993 55,691, for a total of 261.39 million gross tonnes, a dip of 1.4 per cent from the previous year's 265.08 million gross tonnes.
Of those, ocean-going vessels totalled 12,334, down 1.2 per cent from the previous year's 12,488, while coastal vessels totalled 44,609 vessels, up 3.3 per cent from 1993.
Their gross tonnage came to 46.05 million tonnes, a rise of 2.6 per cent over 1993.
Among ocean-going ships, full container vessels calling at the port increased 7.4 per cent to 4,654.
Their gross tonnage stayed level at 96.51 million tonnes, comparable to 96.61 million tonnes in 1993.
Foreign trade cargo also levelled off at 67.66 million tonnes, of which 31.08 million tonnes consisted of exports, down 2.8 per cent from 1993, while imports, at 36.57 million tonnes, barely cleared the 36.26 million tonnes in 1993.
Total freight passing through Yokohama rose 3.7 per cent to 128.27 million tonnes from 123.69 million tonnes the previous year, topping 120 million tonnes for the fifth straight year.
The US and China ranked one-two in both ends of Yokohama's foreign trade.
The US led all buyers of Yokohama's exports last year, taking 1.6 trillion yen (about HK$146 billion) of the port's exports, 0.9 per cent above 1993, for 23.6 per cent of Yokohama's total foreign trade exports.
The US sold to Yokohama 532.4 billion yen worth of its imports, three per cent more than 1993 for 22.4 per cent of the port's total imports.
China was second in exports, with 482.3 billion yen (up 4.0 per cent for a 7.2 per cent share of Yokohama's total added value foreign trade), trailed by Korea with 370 million yen (up 18.6 per cent for a 7.1 per cent share).
In imports, China was second again, selling to Japan through Yokohama 439 billion yen worth of goods, up 23.7 per cent over 1993, for 18.5 per cent of the port's total imports.
South Korea, Germany and Australia followed in that order, with 125.1 billion yen, 120.1 billion yen, and 101.3 billion yen for 5.3 per cent, 5.1 per cent and 4.3 per cent of the port's total imports.
Container cargo continued to lead Yokohama's trade.
The movement of foreign trade containers, export and import, through Yokohama totalled 2.31 million teus (up 6.9 per cent from 1993).
Exports totalled 1.20 million teus (up 6.4 per cent) and imports 1.12 million teus (up 7.4 per cent).
Container trade picked up late in the year, with 421 full container ships calling at Yokohama in December compared with 392 in December of the previous year.
Throughout the year, ocean-going container exports rose 7.4 per cent and imports 16.1 per cent for an overall total of 33.44 million tonnes, rewriting the port's previous high point of cargo movements.
Japan increased purchases of crude oil during the year, leading the list of Yokohama's imports with an increase of 64.1 per cent over 1993.
Daily necessities also showed a sharp rise of 24.5 per cent, while imports of other foodstuffs and industrial products increased 16.4 per cent. Total value of exports and imports came to 9.1 trillion yen.
In Japanese yen, these figures amounted to a decline of 1.4 per cent in exports and a rise of 6.7 per cent in imports.
But in terms of US dollars, these figures meant a rise of 7.2 per cent in exports and of 16.4 per cent in imports.
This performance made Yokohama's share of the nation's total trade 16.6 per cent.