The biggest earthquake to hit Japan in 140 years sent a shockwave through its trading relationship with British Columbia, although it is too soon to tell how much damage might have been done.
Japan, the world’s third-largest importer of commodities and B.C.’s second-biggest trading partner, closed ports and shut down metal refineries as a result of the temblor, sending commodity markets spinning at the prospect of the event interrupting shipments.
Over the long term, however, B.C. could see a boost in trade, particularly for lumber and other commodities used in building materials as Japan begins reconstruction efforts.
In the meantime, shippers have little information about how much damage Japanese terminals have suffered and how long they might remain closed.
“That is something that will become more apparent over the next few days as people take stock of the disaster and what has been impacted,” Chris Badger, vice-president of operations at Port Metro Vancouver said in an interview.