Japan will host its first ever Group of Twenty (G20) summit at Osaka’s International Exhibition Center on June 28-29, 2019. The G20 summit is held annually for governments of 20 member nations to discuss a wide range of issues affecting the world’s economy.
In light of the high profile event, Japanese authorities have released a statement detailing large-scale traffic and sea restrictions near Osaka Port, Kansai International Airport (KIX), as well as within Osaka city during the summit period. As KIX is the country’s third largest airport and a key logistics hub for engineering and automotive companies from southern and central regions of Japan, heightened security checks and restrictions may significantly affect cargo handling and delivery for industries that rely heavily on this route.
Route to KIX may be heavily impacted due to traffic restrictions
Organizers of the G20 summit reportedly aim to reduce traffic by 50 percent for four days, during and leading up to the event. To this end, local authorities have set up traffic restrictions in and around Osaka especially for roads connecting to KIX. The airport is built on an artificial island in Osaka Bay; thus the bridge that connects KIX to Rinku town on the main island will be the most impacted route, particularly on June 27 and June 30 during the arrival and departure of head of states.
From June 27-30, 10 major sections of Hanshin Expressway including No.1 Loop Route and the Gulf Line totaling about 160 kilometers that connects to KIX, hotels, and the summit venue will be closed to traffic from morning until late evening to facilitate movement of delegates and participants of the summit. As a result, traffic will likely be diverted to other expressways such as Meishin Expressway. In Osaka, traffic restrictions will be in effect at 9 locations: Osaka Station, Nakanoshima, Tenma, Osaka Castle, Honcho, Uehoncho, Namba, Tennoji, and Nanko.
In order to access international cargo and fuel supply areas, authorities have set up a fixed route bus that goes from Kansai Airport Station to these areas. However, the bus may not operate normally due to traffic restrictions and logistics providers have been advised to allow for extra travel time.
Heightened aviation security in the Kansai region
According to official statements by the local authorities, heightened security checks can be expected at three main entry points in Kansai region: Kansai International Airport, Osaka International Airport (also known as Itami Airport), and Kobe Airport. Due to their proximity to the event venue, Kansai and Osaka Airports will be used widely by the participants and both airports have released statements pertaining to cargo inspections.
While no airlines have publicly announced additional flights during the aforementioned period, both airports have pre-warned about possible flight delays on June 27 and June 30 due to the arrival and departure of aircrafts carrying heads of states and government officials. Both airports also have prohibited flying drones above and around the facilities; KIX in particular has restricted flying drones within 1,000 meters of the airport.
Vessels required to provide prior notification
According to the statement released by authorities, all vessels entering the sea near Osaka Port and KIX from June 24–30 are requested to provide prior notification to Japan’s maritime security department by noon at least the day before the planned navigation date. Failure to do so would result in longer berthing times. Shipping companies can submit earlier notifications to the nearest maritime security department starting from June 3–19. In addition, vessels are also requested to refrain from entering designated restricted areas, referred to as “voluntary navigation restraint sea area”, around the airport island and the “exclusive use sea area” between the two parts of the island.
Traffic restrictions in and out of KIX for 4-days are likely to be the main challenge for Resilience360 customers with airfreight as collection service for KIX from major domestic shipping companies and delivery service centered in Osaka are likely to be disrupted, particularly on June 27 and 30. In addition to road restrictions, security spot checks on vehicles and cargo inspections may take longer than usual prior to and during the summit.
It is possible that local freight forwarders may pick up imported air cargo arriving during the G20 summit period from July 1 onwards. Thus, customers are advised to liaise with local contacts to avoid delays for critical cargo, such as perishable or pharmaceutical goods, that may require special handling. Alternatively, customers can also consider rerouting shipments to Tokyo’s Narita Airport to avoid delays. This option was used by manufacturers when KIX was shut down for 3-days due to the destruction caused by Typhoon Jebi in 2018.