Prior to the quake, the company produced large dump trucks and super-large hydraulic shovels for mine development at its plant in Hitachinaka and shipped them via roll-on-roll-off (RORO) vessels similar to car ferries. However, the northern wharf in the harbor was damaged by the tsunami that followed the quake, leaving it uncertain when RORO ships could enter the harbor.
As a result, the equipment manufacturer began dismantling machinery into several pieces and exporting it in that form from ports in Tokyo and Yokohama. By using a large crane ship, it will now be able to ship super-large shovels and other equipment from Hitachinaka Port, reducing shipping costs by 30 per cent compared with dismantling the machinery for overland transport.
The company also says its three main assembly plants in Ibaraki Prefecture have returned to full production, which should help it meet growing demand for mining equipment from Indonesia, Australia and elsewhere.