Japan’s Big Three wary of 2015 prospects

Japan’s Big Three wary of 2015 prospects

Tokyo: Japan’s big three lines – MOL, NYK and K Line – all issued their full year results today, and provided some guidance to where they see the markets heading in fiscal 2015.

For Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), overcapacity will continue to plague the dry bulk market, while VLCCs should remain firm underpinned by growing a ton/mile scenario as China and India continue to beef up their oil reserves. MOL also felt product tankers would be stable this year. For boxships, the transpacific and intra-Asia should remain “comparatively firm”, the line said, but Asia-Europe and North-South trades would continue to suffer from a “severe condition”. MOL said further cost cuts were necessary this year as well as greater slow streaming.

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) concurred with MOL’s containership prognosis, optimistic on the transpacific, but wary on Asia-Europe trades, where the “uncertainty overhanging the economies of Europe as well as increasing tonnage supply” would likely see further pressure on freight rates. For dry bulk, K Line maintained larger ship types will hold medium and smaller bulkers back. In the car carrier segment, K Line said it expects “steady global demand” but admitted that it would need to shift its geographic focus as Japanese automakers are making less and less cars on home soil. As a result K Line said it would look at deploying more of its car carrier fleet in Southeast Asia and the Atlantic Basin.

Meanwhile, Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) said it expects “stagnation in market conditions to continue in the dry bulk carrier division” while the container side would be hit by further “weak market conditions as excessive vessel supply capacity continues with completion and delivery of large vessels, mainly on European routes.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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