GCTL8.com (FocusAsia Media Ltd)

Mitsui OSK

TOKYO, Nov 28 (FAM) – In early September, disturbing reports emerged that ships owned by Hanjin Shipping, a big South Korean container line that collapsed in late August, were being kept at sea because of fears that their cargoes would be seized if they docked. The news came as a shock to Japanese shipping companies, in particular, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

At the time, Japan’s three major lines – Nippon Yusen, Mitsui OSK Lines and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha – were in talks about integrating their container businesses. Container shipping is the core of all three companies, accounting for 30 per cent to 50 per cent of total revenues. But at today’s low shipping rates, they are expecting to post combined net losses of more than Y500bn ($4.51bn) for fiscal 2015 and 2016. The three companies knew they could no longer afford to operate separately.