The Port of Onahama lies on the northeastern coast of Japan in the Fukushima Prefecture about 170 kilometers northeast of the Port of Tokyo. In 1747, the Tokugawa Shogunate placed a magistrate’s office in the Port of Onahama to ship out the feudal domains’ rice payments to Edo.
As the demand for coal increased during and after the Meiji Era, the Port of Onahama was a base for transporting coal from the Hitachinaka-Bandai coal mines to Tokyo and Yokohama, making significant contributions to Japan’s industrial development.
In 1938, the first five-thousand ton quay of the modern Port of Onahama was completed. Since then, excluding the period surrounding World War II, the port has steadily grown. It became an open port in 1956. In 1964, the government designated the Joban-Koriyama region as a new industrial city. Coastal industrial regions sprang up in and around the Port of Onahama which quickly became an important port for international trade. The foreign container service was started in 1998, enhancing the port’s utility and competiveness.
The Port of Onahama is strengthening its container-handling capacity to become an even more important distribution port for cargoes throughout northern Japan. At the same time, the Port of Onahama has re-developed Piers 1 and 2 as a tourist center and marine science museum while it is making improvements to the port’s original facilities. Piers 1 and 2, together with the Iwaki tourist and seafood products center, the marine science pavilion, and the green zone Aquamarine Park, the re-developed port attracts about 2.5 million tourists a year to the Port of Onahama.
The Port of Onahama’s Foreign Trade Container Terminal covers 23.8 thousand square meters. It contains the 180-meter-long Ohtsurugi Pier 1 berth with alongside depth of 10 meters. The terminal can store 546 TEUs of containerized cargo, and it has an additional 20 reefer sockets for cooling containers.
The Port of Onahama Container Service links the port to the Port of Busan, South Korea, with two weekly calls. Through Busan, the Port of Onahama conducts trade with the Chinese ports of Dalian, Xingang, Qingdao, and Shanghai as well as ports in Australia, Southeast Asia, and North America. The Coastal Feeder Service from the Port of Onahama connects with the Port of Tokyo twice weekly, supporting international import-export trade.
In 2000, the Port of Onahama handled over 11 million tons of cargo. Of that import-export trade, other Asian ports dominated the volume (7.2 million tons). European ports followed with 2.2 million tons, and the Americas accounted for 1.4 million tons of import-export trade. The Port of Onahama also traded with the Middle East (211 thousand tons) and Australia (12 thousand tons).
The three biggest trading partners were the People’s Republic of China (1.7 million tons), South Korea (1.2 million tons), and Indonesia (1.1 million tons). Other major trade partners included the United States (989 thousand tons), Hong Kong (877 thousand tons), the Netherlands (805 thousand tons), Finland (800 thousand tons), Taiwan (649 thousand tons), Thailand (526 thousand tons), and Malaysia (509 thousand tons).