Japan’s Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), one of the world’s largest shipping companies, has unveiled its latest medium-term business plan through to 2026, which aims to position the company as leader in decarbonisation.
Among the more intriguing parts of the detailed business plan, NYK, the lead shareholder in containerline Ocean Network Express (ONE), said it would aim to “promote a bold growth strategy while also actively pursuing M&As”.
ONE, which NYK operates with compatriots Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), is the world’s seventh largest liner with a fleet of 1.53m slots, according to data from Alphaliner.
Container shipping has been through a decade of massive mergers with many suggesting that room for further consolidation would now focus on niche, regional carriers. However, following the news earlier this year of the splintering of the 2M alliance between Maersk and MSC, some experts believe a renewed period of consolidation will be required as the old alliance structure breaks down.
Speaking at this year’s TPM, container shipping’s largest conference, Lars Jensen, CEO of Danish consultancy Vespucci Maritime, argued that the dissolution of 2M was the first domino to fall, predicting the Ocean Alliance could dissolve as early as this year while ONE could seek a merger with Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd, the world’s fifth largest carrier.
“In my opinion, it’s just a matter of time. It will inevitably happen,” Jensen told the thousands of delegates attending the event in Long Beach, California.
Combined the two entities would have a fleet similar in size to Marseille’s CMA CGM near the podium of the Alphaliner top 100 liner rankings.
Jensen said that ONE and Hamburg’s Hapag-Lloyd have many similarities, making a merger easier, a combination he said he could see happening sometime in 2025 or 2026. Previous Jensen consolidation predictions over the past decade have proven to be highly astute.
Returning to NYK’s newly published business plan, an overarching theme of this latest strategy is to use the next four years to ensure the company is on track for its own ambitious 2050 decarbonisation goals. NYK today gave its own take of where it sees itself – and the wider needs of shipping – come the midway point of the 21st century.