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APL, the container shipping arm of Singapore’s shipping and logistics group Neptune Orient Lines, has announced it will scan export containers for nuclear radiation at its terminal at Yokohama, according to the Shipping Gazette.

The testing, prompted by last month’s earthquake and tsunami that damaged Japanese nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant north of Yokohama, is scheduled to begin on April 6. The carrier said in a statement that it expects to scan 200 containers daily.

The company’s president Eng Aik Meng was quoted saying the company was taking this step to ensure neither people or cargo were at risk.

The decision to scan Japanese exports at Yokohama is the latest precaution to be taken by the container shipping line, after it directed ships at sea to remain 200 nautical miles from the site of the damaged nuclear reactors. It has also refused bookings within the 30 kilometre safety zone established by authorities around the Fukushima nuclear power station.

The ocean liner commenced limited scanning on March 26, saying that no “radiation abnormalities” have been detected so far on its vessels or containers.

The carrier has hired a Japanese surveying firm to scan export containers passing through its Yokohama terminal in-gate. Portable detection equipment will be used to determine if boxes have been exposed to heightened levels of radiation.

It said that since the March 11 quake, seven of its vessels carrying Japanese exports have been scanned at ports in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Oakland and Xiamen. “All of the containers discharged at those ports have been cleared for delivery,” it said, adding “radiation scanning at Yokohama is not expected to disrupt vessel schedules.” The carrier added, “All of its Japan services are operating normally and meeting arrival and departure times.”

— Source: Shipping Gazette

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