140 Years of History, Underscored by Our Never-ending Spirit of Challenge
In 140 years since MOL was founded, we have continued to expand thanks to our never-ending spirit of challenge.
MOL generates added value to the goods and materials we transport via our main business, international ocean shipping.
Through ocean shipping, we contribute to the development of global industries and to more prosperous communities, which is part of our corporate social responsibility. Still, we have inherited this as the spirit of our company since our founding, and we are proud to continue in that vein.
World War Ⅱ: The Devastation and Recovery of Japan's Merchant Fleet
Japan's private merchant shipping fleet was conscripted into military transport, losing a total of around 2,400 vessels and over 30,000 seafarers. While recovering from its defeat in the war, Japan became a major trading country, importing iron ore, petroleum and other resources while exporting automobiles, electrical appliances and other products.
Growing in tandem with the rebounding Japanese economy, MOL provided essential marine transport, promoting diversification and specialization of its businesses to ultimately develop into a full-line marine transport group boasting a wide range of vessel types.
Competitiveness of Japanese Flagged Vessels Challenged by the Yen's Sharp Appreciation Following the Plaza Accord and Floating Exchange Rates
In 1973, Japan switched from a fixed exchange rate system where one U.S. dollar equaled ¥360 to a floating exchange rate system. With the signing of the Plaza Accord in 1985, the yen appreciated sharply from around ¥240 per U.S. dollar to about ¥120. This caused the competitiveness of Japanese flagged vessels to nosedive. MOL began promoting mixed crews of Japanese and foreign national seafarers, and idled a large number of Japanese seafarers as part of its restructuring process.
Aggressive Investment in Resource and Energy Transport
After the 1999 merger with Navix Lines, which was particularly strong in transporting natural resources and energy, MOL aggressively invested in these fields, predicting China's economic development and increased demand for resources. We continued to scale up our fleet of LNG carriers, crude oil tankers, and dry bulkers that transport iron ore, coal, and other commodities.
China's Commodity Import Boom Surges and Wanes
MOL's aggressive investment in the field of natural resource and energy transport was successful. With the unprecedented marine transport boom brought about by China's surging commodity imports, we recorded historic profits in fiscal 2007. However, amid slowing economic growth worldwide and the oversupply of vessels following the economic crisis in 2008, the shipping market stumbled and has continued to struggle with ongoing stagnation. To respond to this vastly different business environment, MOL implemented Business Structural Reforms in the dry bulker business and decided to integrate the container shipping businesses of three Japanese shipping companies.