Restoring the functions of Kobe Port
The Great Hanshin / Awaji Earthquake on January 17, 1995, measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale, damaged most facilities of Kobe Port, except for earthquake-resistant berths. It completely disabled port functions. Those responsible for Kobe's restoration decided to restore the port facilities in approximately 2 years, by the end of March 1997, and restoration work was commenced through the coordination of the 3rd District Port Construction Bureau, Kobe City Council (which administrates the port), and the Kobe Port Terminal Public Corporation. The 170 public berths and other port facilities have been steadily restored. As a result, the number of vessels increased entering the port and the amount of cargo handled, which had dropped drastically after the earthquake. As of 1996, the amount of cargo had recovered to 80%, and the number of vessels and trading volume to over 90% of the pre-earthquake 1994 figure.
Building earthquake resistant ports
The Great Hanshin / Awaji Earthquake affected 24 ports in Hyogo, Tokushima, and Osaka prefectures, including Kobe Port, one of Japan's most prominent international ports. The damage exerted a disastrous influence on socio-economic activities not only in the Hanshin region but elsewhere in Japan and the world. This earthquake also brought the realization that ports are vital disaster control bases. The open green areas within port compounds played a variety of crucial roles after the earthquake, such as sites for temporary housing and restoration work headquarters and temporary storage of rubble from destroyed structures. Based on these lessons, the government is promoting earthquake-resistant ports, featuring earthquake-resistant wharves providing key logistics functions for international containers to secure the transportation of emergency supplies and personnel at the time of an earthquake. Such ports should also provide open green areas for use in emergencies, as the evacuation site for disaster-affected people and the base for accumulating emergency supplies.