Japan's Big Three shipping liners unveil joint venture, with global HQ in Singapore

The presidents of Japan's big three shipping lines joining hands at a news conference in Tokyo on May 31.
The presidents of Japan's big three shipping lines joining hands at a news conference in Tokyo on May 31. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Japan's big three shipping lines have unveiled their new joint venture, Ocean Network Express, which will house its global headquarters in Singapore.

The joint venture is a consolidation of the container shipping businesses of Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Mitsui OSK Lines and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, including their worldwide terminal operation businesses.

The three parties said in a joint statement on Wednesday that the joint venture is planning to set up a holding company in Japan, along with an operating company that will be incorporated in Singapore.

Ocean Network Express will also set up a regional headquarters here, with four other similar offices in Hong Kong, United Kingdom (London), United States (Richmond, VA), and Brazil (Sao Paulo).

"The move will allow Ocean Network Express to better meet customers' needs by providing high-quality, competitive services through the consolidation and enhancement of the three companies' global network and service structures," said the liners.

They added that the establishment of the new joint venture will be announced officially once all anti-trust reviews are completed and that the service commencement date for Ocean Network Express is April 1, 2018.

The deal was first announced in October last year, following a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the global container shipping industry as players continued to grapple with severe overcapacity.

Singapore's own Neptune Orient Lines was sold to French shipping giant CMA CGM in a $3.38 billion deal, and delisted from the Singapore Exchange.