Creating a new business model and taking on new challenges
Based on our company policy, “Creating a new business model and taking on new challenges”, we achieved many accomplishments in each business section in 2017, and there are also signs of successes in the future.
In 2018, we will further hone these business models to ensure their establishment through continuing engagement.
International shipping business
While being in the difficult market environment due to oversupply, we are actively engaged in the sponsorship for the seven re-organized companies, chartering business started in the collaboration with financial institutions, sale and purchase of secondhand ships, which led to the increase in both vessels we own and manage, allowing us to lay the foundations for development over the coming year.
Moreover in Philippines, we increased the certified crews to board on Japanese flagged vessels. With diversification of crew recruitment sources to India and Bangladesh, it allowed us to own and manage diverse types of vessels.
In future, we will strengthen our fleet by making full use of our self-management system, for the special vessels requiring high shipping quality such as exclusive carriers for wood chips or automobiles.
Domestic shipping business
We continue to offer proposals with systematic strategies to each operator and cargo owners. In 2019, the Joint Venture ship with NS United Naiko Kaiun Kaisha, Ltd. is to be replaced. We will accelerate replacement of other ships to newly built vessels, as well as investing our energy on obtaining new businesses in order to achieve expansion of our fleet.
Ferry & Logistics
Due to the shortage of truck drivers and tightening of safety standard, the freight department of the ferry business continues to face a difficult situation. On the other hand, the passenger department implemented the four large ships system in the Seikan route. Together with the smash hit of “Ocean Drive Discount”, which charged a fixed rate per one vehicle no matter how many people are travelling together in the car, it resulted in the sharp increase of passengers and cars travelling with our ferries. With another new ship being planned to go into commission in early 2020, we aim to continuously expand our business in the number of passengers and cars traveling through the promotion of “Casual Cruise”. Regarding the freight logistics, we will build new facilities and start dealing with unmanned shipping chassis in order to adapt to the future changes of transportation mode. It has been practically one year since the launch of PFI business promotion, and we achieved the first private operation of Natchan World ferry in the transport for the U.S. Army between Naha and Tomakomai. Moreover, for the purpose of activation of private demand and regional revitalization, we called at many ports around Japan, and received much warm welcome. In 2018, we are planning to participate in the 150-year anniversary events of Hokkaido, and will start around-Hokkaido-cruise in collaboration with Monbetsu City.
In the logistics business, we are grateful that Fujitrans Corporation based in Nagoya became a shareholder of Next Co. We also opened our Osaka office. While our main business is the transport between Hokkaido and Kanto Region, we are also investing on building a network in Kansai Region. Moreover, we were commissioned, and successfully undertook, transport of hatch covers and ramps of a ship equipment maker as a logistics transport that involved both domestic and international shipping.
In future, we will achieve synergy among various businesses and strengthen our logistics business.
In order to achieve a synergy effect between the three maritime shipping fields of international shipping, domestic shipping and ferry business, we are strengthening the scale merit through joint purchasing, joint recruitment of crews and relationships with the operators since 2017, and achieving concrete results. Moreover, in addition to the PFI business with the Ministry of Defense, we received commission for maintenance and improvement work for the equipment department of the Philippine navy. We are planning to perform this role and expand this business in collaboration with various companies in the Philippines who are our partners in the international shipping business.
Regional revitalization promotion business
In the agricultural business that we conduct as a part of our regional revitalization promotion business, we successfully diversified the product lineup through development of olive products, and increased our merchandise.
The number of our products’ fans is gradually increasing, and the yield of olive has doubled in the autumn of 2017. With the support from local municipalities, more local farmers participated in growing our products. Moreover, the restaurant connected to our factory is also performing well, and our long-year investment starts to bear fruits. In 2018, we will achieve further increase of the yield and quality improvement, and will continue to engage with regional vitalization through measures such as job creation including UI turn.
The solar power business that started in February 2017 at Hikari city, Yamaguchi Prefecture, has achieve electric power generation that exceeded our expectation, and continues its fine operation. The local people also support us in works such as weeding.
Furthermore, life and non-life insurance agency business of L&A Co. and the security business that started its proper operation last year are also steadily producing their results.
In 2018, we will achieve horizontal connection of the businesses between Hokkaido, Tokyo and International offices, centered on Kure Headquarters, and increase our contribution to the society as a company looted in the local community.
Koji Sumida, Representative Director & President