Inauguration Message by President Koichi Muto
June 22, 2010
Unite the Very Best of Our Abilities and Skills
to ensure Sustainable Growth of the MOL Group
Let me start by extending my warmest greetings to you upon my inauguration as president of MOL.
My commitment and mission as president is to make the MOL Group an organization of excellence and resilience, leading the world shipping industry with a long-term vision founded on the MOL Group Corporate Principles. I also pledge to meet the expectations of our stakeholders by ensuring the successful completion of our mid-term management plan, "GEAR UP! MOL".
The collapse of Lehman in the autumn of 2008 triggered a sharp contraction not only in the financial sector but also in real economic development. At the time, we anticipated long-term stagnation, but in fact the shipping industry has moved towards a recovery faster than forecasted. This has in main been thanks to growth in emerging economies, although the speed of recovery has varied across different business segments. Despite a number of concerns remaining, the need for seaborne trade will continue to grow, especially in China, and this is expected to absorb the supply of new vessels. Consequently ocean freight markets in general will be close to our middle range scenario, although we may see fluctuations from time to time. Based on these projections, we developed our mid-term management plan "GEAR UP! MOL".
In response to the growing demand for seaborne trade, the MOL Group has determined to position the ocean shipping business at its core. This is reflected in our long-term vision for the Group, with our eventual goal of becoming the leading player in the world shipping industry. Through our business activities, we hope to make a significant contribution to global economic growth. However, in order to become a leading player, we must first enhance and strengthen four fundamental pillars with which our organization is built: credibility; investment judgment; contribution to global environmental protection; and our employees.
Credibility is our first pillar of our business expansion: credibility by customers in our ability to conduct safe operations; trust by customers in all MOL Group employees; and credibility from customers and investors in our strength to manage the company in a financially sound and stabile manner. While the requirements by customers regarding safe operation have become higher, we aim to differentiate ourselves from our competitors by becoming a company that maintains exemplary safety standards. In terms of safe operation, we are never satisfied with where we are. We will continuously renew our determination to work together to the best of our abilities and without compromise in striving for higher safety standards in all our business activities. We will maintain and increase the credibility from our customers by responding to their needs; by seeing things from their perspective; and by adopting a service-oriented mindset in all aspects of our business. While many global shipping companies have found themselves financially constrained following the collapse of Lehman and the subsequent tightening of credit in the financial sector, the MOL Group is in a relatively strong position. However, this will not stop us working towards further strengthening of our financial soundness. Our efforts to make the MOL Group an organization with which customers can entrust their valuable cargo in the sure knowledge that it will be transported safely and timely will be unceasing. We always take every steps to win customer trust and become a leader in the global shipping market.
The second pillar of our business is correct judgment, especially when selecting business domains and correctly judging the timings of business expansions. For this to occur, as is stated as one of our Group Corporate Principles, we must without fail "meet and respond to our customers' needs in this new era". So how will we know which business domains will expand in the future, and which ones have the most potential? To answer this question, it is important we enhance dialogue with our customers, actively gather all relevant information, and make decisions with insight based on thorough knowledge of the situation. Such knowledge will be derived from our own global perspective, historical viewpoint, business knowledge, and intelligence. Making correct decisions will satisfy customer needs, contribute to worldwide economic growth, and ultimately secure healthy profits for the company.
When making decisions, we think that total risk control is important. It is essential that MOL remains a company that keeps growing sustainably. However, there is no business opportunity in which there are profits without risk. What we must do is to work actively to seize opportunities which have acceptable levels of risk. In order to manage the risks, we will improve and enhance our portfolio management. Management's responsibility to all stakeholders is to maintain a business entity that can survive any major business upheavals by keeping an appropriate size and balance between the fixed stable profit market and fluctuating spot markets in each shipping business segment. We also need to ensure an appropriate balance between total assets and shareholders' equity. When it comes to the question of how MOL should operate in the present business climate, although we will face a range of issues, we will take a cautious approach to investment for the time being, while paying careful attention so as not to miss any business opportunities. On the other hand, we will remain focused on strengthening our existing activities through further globalization of our businesses, boosting the efficiency of our business and administrative departments, and further strengthening the safety and reliability of our vessel operations.
Global environmental protection is the third pillar upon which our company rests. Our obligation to protect the global environment while meeting the growing demand for ocean shipping is at the most importance. Obviously, we have to contribute to environmental protection by ensuring safe operation. In addition, we are strongly and sincerely committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, we are promoting the ISHIN project to develop the next-generation of environmentally-friendly vessels. I believe the most effective method to reduce CO2 emissions while meeting the increased demand for transport is to transport cargoes more slowly using larger vessels. The CO2 emission burden of ships on the environment increases by the square root of the speed increase ratio, even for small speed increases. We must continue in our efforts to become a more environmentally friendly ocean shipping company, and elicit the understanding and support of our customers regarding more environmentally responsible navigation speeds and transportation.
The final pillar of the MOL Group is its employees. One of my key missions as president is to help create a working environment throughout the MOL Group in which all employees are able to work effectively and efficiently, with a strong sense of mission and purpose. Clearly, this will lead to a better overall performance by the group, with a consequential increase in corporate value satisfying the expectations of our stakeholders. Teamwork can flourish and produce exceptional results with a shared sense of accomplishment and achievement, something that cannot be achieved by individuals alone. To promote and encourage strong teamwork, we will pursue clear, open, and substantial channels of communication throughout the organization, so that each and everyone working in the MOL Group can share in common goals and policies and retain a strong perception of their roles in achieving them.
Every MOL Group employee must keep in mind company targets and strategies, and have a clear understanding that their day-to-day achievements all contribute towards total corporate value, and they guide the MOL Group towards greater corporate value.
Finally, on another issue, compliance with the Group Corporate Principles at all times is extremely important. As we go about our daily duties, we must remain fully aware of, and conform to, social norms and corporate ethics, as well as the local laws the company operates under. This must guide all our activities at all times - everyone who works for the MOL Group must understand, practice and comply with the Group Corporate Principles without exception.
As president, it is my duty and responsibility to stand firmly at the helm and guide the MOL Group towards sustainable and stable growth and financial strength. I ask for your support in the exciting and challenging journey we are embarking on.