The Kashima works of Sumitomo Metals Industries shipped lightweight H beams, pipe piles and steel sheets on 15 March just four days after the earthquake that struck off the east coast of northern Japan.

This is Kashima’s first shipment to its customers after the earthquake of March 11.

The earthquake, which measured 8.9 on the Richter scale and was later upgraded to 9.0 – releasing 1.4 times more energy than previously announced and the maximum recordable on the Richter scale – caused damage at Sumitomo’s Kashima Steelworks causing a fire in a coke oven gas holder as well as damage to the quay and the quay cranes, auxiliary facilities of the coke oven and the loosened gas pipes, and damage to the auxiliary facilities of the blast furnace.

The earthquake damage was confirmed mainly at the port facilities and upstream manufacturing facilities, and only slightly at the buildings within the steelworks. No damage was sustained from the tsunami wave.

Sumitomo Kashima is located on the coast due east of Tokyo and some 190 miles south of Sendai, the nearest town to the offshore epicentre.

Sumitomo Metal Industries say it will do its best to fulfil customers’ needs by delivering products that help reconstruct the communities in the damaged areas.

The Company extends its deepest condolences to people who have suffered from the earthquake, and say the Sumitomo Metals Group intends to work hard to help and support reconstruction of the affected regions.

They also express gratitude for the sympathy extended by its business partners, communities, administrative bodies, and other parties.

To put the scale of the earthquake in perspective, the energy released by the earthquake alone was equivalent to 474 megatons of TNT or 9.5 times greater than the largest thermonuclear bomb ever tested. The energy released was 11220 times greater than the recent earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand and the only other earthquake of this magnitude recorded was in Lisbon in 1755