In a more sombre address than normal the head of Japan’s largest shipping line has warned the new financial year – which starts today – is likely to be a tricky one.
Speaking on the occasion of Mitsui OSK Lines’ (MOL) 135th anniversary, president and CEO, Junichiro Ikeda, told staff: “We are currently seeing a trend toward economic deceleration, and the ocean shipping market still faces many uncertain factors. By no means we can say that we are in a strong position in our field.”
Ikeda warned he anticipated “rough seas” this year. Nevertheless, he anticipated Ocean Network Express (ONE), its new joint venture containerline, should become profitable this year.
MOL has a 31% stake in ONE, the new magenta-branded boxline launched with compatriots Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) in April last year. A dire start to operations saw Singapore-based ONE forced to issue warnings that it could lose up to $600m in its first year of operations, far off its initial $110m profit forecast. The huge loss forced ONE’s three parents – including MOL – to issue their own profit warnings for the full year of 2018.