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Economy

Cargo operations partially resume at Japan's Kansai Airport

Freight and courier companies race to repair typhoon damage at key supply hub

More than 95% of the freight that transits Kansai International Airport is related to Japan's overseas trade.

OSAKA / TOKYO -- Airlines and cargo companies have partially resumed operations at Kansai International Airport two weeks after the key supply-chain hub was damaged by Typhoon Jebi.

Restoration of freight operations took longer than that of passenger flights due to heavier damage to the cargo area.

Companies are racing to restart all freight operations to minimize the economic impact caused by the loss of the strategic logistics hub.

In 2017, Kansai International Airport handled more than 850,000 tons of freight, 95% of which was international.

Korean Air Lines started once-daily cargo flights at the airport on Wednesday afternoon, transporting electronics components, clothing and other items.

Air Hong Kong, a cargo airline operated by Cathay Pacific Airways, restarted flights on Tuesday.

Nippon Express, a large Japanese parcel carrier, has also partially resumed work at the airport after relocating a major part of its operations to Narita and Haneda airports in the Tokyo metropolitan area, where they still remain. "We want cargo handling functions at Kansai International Airport to be fully restored as soon as possible," said an employee.

All Nippon Airways, which has been working to repair flooded warehouses near the airport, has also restarted some freight handling. However, it is unknown when the airline will resume cargo flights for Hong Kong, Shanghai and other Chinese locations, which comprise the majority of the company's cargo operations.

U.S. courier service FedEx earlier restarted flights at Terminal 2 -- which sustained less damage than Terminal 1 -- but only for small packages and documents.

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