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K Line makes sweeping digital reforms

In his final new year’s address as president and CEO of Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) Eizo Murakami has announced a corporate restructuring to promote digitalisation throughout the company, Japan’s third largest shipowner.

Murakami, who will move to the post of chairman in April, told employees today: “[I]t is our policy to advance a reform towards a business which creates a new kind of value, unique to us, which anticipates changes in our clientele, by means such as the construction of a business model adapted to changes in society, and adapting to digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and the internet of things.”

In order to handle these changes, this month a new organisation will be set up within the giant shipping company. For digital technology activities a new AI-digitalization advancement section is being created, while for lateral group strategies and dealing with customers, a new marketing strategy section is being created.

“Working in coordination these sections will cooperate with departments both inside and outside the group and the company, forming a structure which provides new added value to our customers,” Murakami said.

This April K Line will celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Murakami also used his New Year address to decry growing protectionism across the world.

“[T]he trend towards protectionism, which has arisen in recent years, has grown even stronger, in particular the development of America First policies by the United States has had a major destabilising effect around the world,” Murakami said, adding: “Such actions have greatly upset the global economy, and there is great concern regarding the effect they will have on trade, which is the very foundation of our business.”

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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