Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has performed a considerable volte face over its plans for Singapore. For a number of years the Lion City had been MOL’s home from home, with considerable business shifting from Tokyo to the Southeast Asian republic under a concerted decentralisation plan. This has now come to an end.
MOL’s four-year-old dry bulk shipping subsidiary in Singapore, MOL Bulk Carriers (MOLBC) is to be canned, its functions returning to Tokyo as part of sweeping dry bulk restructuring at the giant line. MOLB was involved in spot handymax trades. MOL has also announced plans to slash its capesize fleet by 10%, cancelling some charter contracts and selling some vessels. The carrier will also reduce its containership fleet by returning some vessels on charter.
Speaking on the 132nd anniversary of the founding of the company, MOL’s ceo and president Junichiro Ikeda admitted shipping is in an “extremely difficult” position. He said it would “time to resolve the fleet oversupply issue, as many high-priced newbuildings are still on order, undelivered, while scrap prices remain low”.
Meanwhile, Kawaski Kisen Kaisha (K Line) is going on a different Singapore dry bulk path to compatriot MOL. K Line has just announced plans to set a Panamax Fleet Allocation Center at its Singapore-based subsidiary, K Line Pte Ltd (KLPL) to manage the time charters of the group’s 50-odd panamax and post-pananax fleet.