“As our government grows, so do we. If our country’s gross domestic product (GDP) hit 3%, we would grow more than that. We see about 5% increase in our (vessel number), acquiring 40-50 ships every year,” MOL Chairman Akimitsu Ashida said at the sidelines of Magsaysay Institute of Shipping’s (MIS) 20th anniversary celebration last Saturday.
MOL currently operates 930 vessels.
The Japanese line is bringing back its tonnage to levels before the 2008-2009 economic slump when it was forced to scrap old vessels due to overcapacity and weak demand ring the downturn. At that time, business in Japan had nosedived, prompting shipowners to lay up car carriers.
“Historically, the shipping business is very bad but by 2014 to 2015, the market will go back to normal. Now, we expect cargo movement to grow by 3%,” he added.
Ashida estimates $1.5 billion investment every year for the fleet expansion.
“Cargo movement between Japan and Philippines is not so big… only about 2-3 %. Majority of our operation, around 40% is intra-Asia. Trade routes are Japan to China; China to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, India,” he said.
MOL operates in Asia to Europe, Asia to North America, South America and Australia. Its vessels include bulk carriers, container ships, car carriers, tankers, chemical and LNG.
The company ensures that it meet the needs of the times, from specialized bulk carriers for iron ore, coal and wood chips, to tankers that transport crude oil and LNG , car carriers and container ships that deliver a variety of finished products.
“MIS has played a key role in producing highly skilled and competent seafarers for our vessels, Ashida said.
Currently, out of MOL’s 20,000 seafarers, 65% are Filipinos.
“If we grow our ships proportionally, we will maintain 65% of the total seafarers for the Philippines,” he explained.
The absolute demand to man the ships will naturally increase. The new ships will need higher-rank seamen such as c engineers and masters.
Filipino seafarers, especially engineers, are encouraged to become masters and chief engineer in MOL’s fleet.
MIS was founded in 1992 by Magsaysay Maritime Corporation, its sister company Fairmont Shipping based in Hong Kong, and MOL to develop young men and women to be excellent seafarers and officers.
Image from www.mol.co.jp