Japan has strengthened its port logistics in the past three years, with the introduction of major regulatory changes, according to a report by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
First, the third Basic Plan for Ocean Policy, adopted by the Council of Ministers in May 2018, includes a component related to ports.
The objective of this component is to maintain and expand the main sea routes, with port calls in Japan and seismic infrastructures adapted to large container ships, large bulk ships and automobile carriers, through the collection of freights, the establishment freight and improving port competitiveness.
Likewise, the Plan foresees the construction of international logistics terminals and national terminals adapted to the transportation needs of the main industries (such as the recycling of automobiles in ports), and will also promote the creation of fuel supply facilities for specifically to ships carrying liquefied natural gas, including abroad (for example, in Singapore).
Japan has vigorously pursued its policy of granting concessions to an increasing number of container terminals and specialized in bulk products.
Currently there are container terminals managed by the private sector in nine ports, compared to the three outlined in the previous report. Although this activity is open to foreign investment, all the operators selected to date are Japanese.
Overview of ports that have recently been awarded terminal concessions
Due to the outcome of the 1995-1996 shipping negotiations, Japan has made relatively limited commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (access to / use of port services, towing and traction services, shipping agency services , rescue services, fueling and water services).
The commitments made in the context of the Free Trade Agreements are very varied. The most liberal commitments are those contained in negative list agreements (with Australia, Chile, the European Union, Mexico, Peru, Switzerland and the parties to the CPTPP) and in recently concluded positive list agreements that include status quo clauses (with Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines and Thailand).