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Over 130 Years of History, Underscored by Our Never-ending Spirit of Challenge

In the more than 130 years since MOL was founded, we have continued to expand by our never-ending spirit of challenge.
MOL generates added value to the goods we transport via our main business, international ocean shipping.
Through ocean shipping, we contribute to the development of regional industry and to more prosperous communities, which is part of our corporate social responsibility. Still, this has been inherited as the spirit of our company from its founding, and we are proud to say that we continue in that vein.

1878 The iron-hulled steamer HIDEYOSHI MARU begins ocean transport of Miike coal from Kuchinotsu (Japan) to Shanghai.
1884 Osaka Shosen Kaisha (OSK Lines) is founded.

The Head Office building at the time of OSK Lines' founding
1930 The high-speed cargo ship Kinai Maru is launched, and covers the Yokohama-New York route in 25 days and 17.5 hours, well below the industry average of 35 days.

1939 The Argentina Maru and Brasil Maru are built and launched as cargo/passenger liners on the South America route. These vessels represent the state-of-the-art in Japanese shipbuilding at the time.

Argentina Maru
1942 Mitsui Steamship Co., Ltd. founded.

The Mitsui Head Office building at the time Mitsui Steamship Company was founded. (Nihombashi, Tokyo)
1961 The Kinkasan Maru, the world's first automated ship, is launched, and for the first time, the engine room is operated entirely from the bridge.

1964 OSK Lines and Mitsui Steamship Co. Ltd merge to form Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd (MOL). Nitto Shosen and Daido Kaiun merge to form Japan Line, Ltd. (JL). Yamashita Kisen and Shinnihon Kisen merge to form Yamashita-Shinnihon Steamship Co., Ltd. (YSL)
1965 The Oppama Maru, Japan's first specialized car carrier, joins the fleet.

1968 MOL, JL, and YSL launch the full containerships America Maru, Japan Ace, and Kashu Maru to ply the Japan-California route.

America Maru
1983 Japan's first methanol carrier, the Kosan Maru, goes into service.

1984 The LNG tanker Senshu Maru is launched.

  • Japan's first full-fledged cruise ship, theĀ FUJI MARU, is launched, ushering in the era of leisure cruises in Japan.
  • Navix Line is established by the merger of JL and YSL.
1990 The cruise ship Nippon Maru is launched.

1993 Crew training school established in Manila.

MOL Training Center (the Philippines)
  • Container route service through a strategic international tie-up, called The Global Alliance (TGA), begins.
  • First double-hull VLCC, the Atlantic Liberty, goes into service.
1996 MOL acquires a share in chemical tanker operator Tokyo Marine(Current: MOL Chemical Tankers Pte. Ltd.)
1999 MOL and Navix merge, establish new Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.

MOL Head Office building (Toranomon, Tokyo)
2000 MOL Environmental Policy Statement established.
2001 MOL Group Corporate Principles and Long-Term Vision established.
2004 Daibiru Corporation becomes a consolidated subsidiary of MOL.
  • Safety Operation Supporting Center established at Head Office.

    Safety Operation Supporting Center (SOSC)
  • MOL Group logomark introduced.
  • The Brazil Maru, largest iron ore carrier at the time, is launched.
2009 Next-generation vessel concept Senpaku Ishin project announced.

Ishin I (upper) Ishin II (center) Ishin III (lower)
  • New MOL Technology Reserch Center opens.
  • The first participation in FPSO
2012 The Emerald Ace, which represents a significant step forward in realizing ISHIN-I, is delivered.
2013 Training ship Sprit of MOL is retired. New CADET Training Program is launched.
2014 130th Anniversary
  • MOL CHART introduced.
  • Rotterdam World Gateway(RWG), the world's most innovative fully automated container terminal, opens.
  • Papua, the 1st LNG carrier built in China for a non-Chinese shipping company, delivered.
  • "Senpaku ISHIN NEXT - MOL SMART SHIP PROJECT" is launched.
  • The methanol carriers, Tamaraki Sun, Manchac Sun, and Cajun Sun, are delivered. These vessels are equipped with dual fuel engines that can run on methanol and heavy oil.
  • World's first large-size ethane carrier, Ethane Crystal, is delivered
  • The methanol carriers receive the Technology Special Prize in the Ship of the Year 2016 awards.
  • Engine control console installed on bridge of the Kinkasan Maru is certified as 1st 'Ship Heritage' item.
  • World's largest containership, MOL Triumph, is launched.
  • World's largest FSRU, MOL FSRU Challenger, is delivered.
2018 Container Shipping Joint Venture, Ocean Network Express starts business operation.

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