Japanese firms dealing with impact of highway closure

JAPAN - Businesses transporting goods and passengers have dealt with the closure of part of the Chuo Expressway due to Sunday's tunnel collapse in Yamanashi Prefecture by taking detours. But as congestion is anticipated on roads around the scene, including National Highway Route 20, companies are worried about the impacts on their operations.

The section between Otsuki and Uenohara interchanges, adjacent to the closed section, is normally one of the three busiest parts of the about 9,000 kilometers managed by the East, Central and West Nippon Expressway Companies.

JR Tokai Bus Co. announced Monday that its thrice-daily expressway bus service between Tokyo and Nagoya would continue by using a national road.

FamilyMart Co., a major convenience store chain that already usually uses public roads, has rescheduled shipments of goods to earlier hours of the day to avoid congestion.

Nippon Express Co. has prepared for a prolonged closure by considering alternatives to trucks, such as trains.

SG Holdings Co., the parent company of Sagawa Express Co., has considered taking other detours depending on congestion.

In the package delivery business, volume ordinarily rises 10 per cent in December due to year-end gifts. The peak is from Dec. 24 to 26, but it already started increasing. An SG Holdings spokesman said, "If detour routes are closed due to snow, we will be in trouble."

Japan Post Co. of Japan Post Holdings Co. announced Monday that its deliveries in the Kanto region, all of Yamanashi Prefecture and the Matsumoto area in Nagano Prefecture may be delayed. Seino Holdings Co., also known as kangaroo express, said its truck deliveries in Yamanashi and Nagano prefectures could be partially delayed.

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