Japan is well-known for its post-war “economic miracle,” which has seen it become one of the world’s largest economies. In fact, Japan’s economy is the world’s third-largest in terms of nominal GDP. The country has vast industrial capacity, and is known as one of the most important producers of vehicles and electronics in the world. As a nation, it is also the world’s largest creditor, and enjoys low rates of unemployment. Few exporters can afford not to export from the US to Japan.

Japan’s capital, Tokyo, is a major international finance center, and home to the headquarters of several of the world’s largest investment banks and insurance companies. It is one of the three “command centers” for the world economy, along with New York City and London. The city, with a metropolitan population of 35 million, also has the world’s largest metropolitan economy.

The country’s profile is such that it makes its own argument for investors and exporters. If you wish to expand your business into Asia, export from the US to Japan.

Full Container (FCL) or Groupage (LCL)

We encourage you to consider carefully your different choices when you are shipping a container to Japan. Your two shipping options are a full container load (FCL) or groupage (LCL).

Your shipping volume can help you make a choice here. If your volume is equal to at least six standard pallets-a little over half the capacity of a 20-foot container-then a full container load (FCL) will be your best option. A 20-foot container accommodates 10 standard pallets, while a 40-foot container can carry 22.

FCL should also be chosen even for small shipments if you wish to avoid any risk of damage to your goods that could be caused by contact with others’ merchandise.

If sharing a container is viable for you, then you should choose groupage (LCL). This is cost-efficient, as you will pay only for the space you need. Consult iContainers for rates and other important information.

Ocean Freight Routes to Japan

Japan’s high level of foreign trade means that this small country boasts a large number of maritime ports. Among the most important are Tokyo, Kobe, and Osaka.

  • Port of Tokyo
    This port, while limited in depth, remains among Japan’s most important maritime facilities. It is one of the largest seaports in the Pacific Ocean basin, with an annual traffic capacity of around 4,500,000 TEU’s. It features nearly 15,000 feet of quays and 15 berths. There are four container terminals, two terminals for foodstuffs, five general-cargo terminals, and two RORO terminals, as well as storage capacity for 22,000 cars.

  • Port of Kobe
    Kobe is Japan’s fourth most-important port, and receives both container vessels and passenger ferries. It has 34 container berths, and a maximum draft of nearly 60 feet. In 2011, over four thousand container vessels called here, carrying 93.4 million gross tons and almost two million TEUs of containerized cargo.

  • Port of Osaka
    Osaka’s port is considered the main logistics hub in the west of Japan. In 2010, it handled a total of 85.3 million tons of cargo, including 35.12 million tons of foreign trade and 50.1 million tons of domestic trade. Almost all of the foreign trade was containerized cargo. Osaka also handles passenger traffic. Besides its six berths at Sakishima (Nanko), it also has an operations base at Yumeshima that provides multimodal load and unload services, special load services, and RORO, and handles roughly 90,000 tons of freight annually.

Air Freight Transportation to Japan

If you are working against a short deadline or your shipment is urgent, air freight may be more appropriate to your needs. Air freight comes with some limitations in terms of volume and weight; iContainers provides a calculator to help you determine whether this is the right option for you.