Ocean Network Express: Charting a new course

Ocean Network Express continues to evolve, innovate and grow. CEO Jeremy Nixon shared his insights on the company’s half decade of success, its commitment to keeping the global supply chain moving and its plans for future voyages.

Five years of dedication, service

“ONE was established on July 7, 2017, following the integration of K Line, MOL and NYK. We commenced our services in April 2018 and today offer solutions founded on the successes of our three legacy companies,” Nixon said.

“Five years ago, we had to move quickly to establish ONE. Our highly motivated team faced and overcame new challenges and made sure we kept our services to our international customers at the highest level while bringing the company together under one entity and brand.

“From the very beginning we wanted to be recognized as a company that is ‘big enough to survive and small enough to care.’ Our focus on delivering high-quality customer service continues to be based on the reliable systems we have put in place. The dedication of our people has enabled us to develop and maintain our strong reputation within the industry today.”

Moving forward together

“Five years ago, we inherited very capable and experienced people. Our employees have shown commitment and loyalty to the company as we have grown and we continue to move forward together. Investing in our people in the 120 countries in which we do business continues to be a key contributor to our global success. The ONE way encompasses loyalty and commitment and we are proud of the fact that our international teams are able to ‘lift and shift’ and get the job done.

From the very beginning we wanted to be recognized as a company that is ‘big enough to survive and small enough to care.’ Our focus on delivering high-quality customer service continues to be based on the reliable systems we have put in place.

Jeremy Nixon, Chief Executive Officer of ONE

“As with most businesses, COVID created many challenges for our onshore teams and seafaring staff. During the pandemic, many of our vessels were held in ports around the world and regulations imposed by national governments and port authorities prevented us and other shipping companies from changing crews,” Nixon added.

“Recognizing that our seafarers had endured a very challenging time, we took a proactive approach to the situation and began working closely with governments and industry players to establish the Neptune Declaration. This outlined the main actions required to resolve the crew change crisis and better support our seafarers.”

Investing in people

Nixon continued: “As we continue to grow the company long-term, our customers’ requirements will change. In line with this, our employees will require new training and new skills to better serve our customers and when it comes to succession planning and job rotation, we will continue to invest in our people.

“Our staff engagement surveys have proven to be insightful and overwhelmingly positive. We will run another survey this year to gain a better understanding of how our people feel about the development of the company, the work environments we provide and how our vision, mission and values align with our employees.

“Our open-style offices have proved very successful as people can walk around and interact with one another in an open environment: Breakout areas allow people to come together, huddle and share ideas. Our offices around the world look very different to traditional shipping offices with many people commenting that ONE offices look more like technology company workplaces.

“In terms of providing additional support, last year we launched our ONE Academy, which we intend to develop into a global initiative. Managed by our human resources department, ONE Academy brings our people up-to-date with new developments and improves their knowledge of the company. By encouraging people to link up and share insights across the company, we can develop our peoples’ knowledge of ONE and our capabilities as a business. We intend to continue this agile approach towards training and developing our people in order to move ONE into the future.”

The heart of ASEAN

“While we have regional headquarters in Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, North America and Brazil, Singapore is our home. We have Japanese shareholders, activities in 120 countries and an international management team, but our global head office is in Singapore for good reason,” Nixon said.

“The Association of Southeast Asian Nations member countries today comprise one of the most important ‘factories of the world,’ and boast a population of over 650 million people.

“Since I arrived here 25 years ago, Singapore has evolved into an incredibly successful international maritime center. Singapore is geographically well-positioned in terms of where it sits on the east-west, north-south maritime corridors and has established strong trading links with the rest of the world.”

Since I arrived here 25 years ago, Singapore has evolved into an incredibly successful international maritime center. Singapore is geographically well-positioned in terms of where it sits on the east-west, north-south maritime corridors and has established strong trading links with the rest of the world.

China has become increasingly important from a container shipping standpoint and is still the world’s largest single sourcing economy. However, the challenges being faced in terms of the China- U.S. relationship have led to a number of our major international customers ‘de-risking.’ While still sourcing a significant amount of goods from China, companies have developed their ‘China-plus- one’ strategies and it is now common for them to reach out to other countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia to source products. To the west, India has also strengthened its position in recent years.

“Economic activity across the region is dynamic and it is fair to say we are in ‘the right place at the right time’ to serve our global customers.

“Our Singapore Magenta Terminal, inaugurated in 2019, is a joint venture terminal with PSA Singapore (formerly known as the Port of Singapore Authority). The terminal was established to operate four megacontainer berths at Pasir Panjang Terminal with a combined annual handling capacity of 4 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units).

“Today we have approximately 80 services a week coming into Singapore, and the connections Singapore has established with the rest of the world grow stronger by the day.”

Advancing the maritime industry

“As the maritime sector develops, new challenges will have to be faced, and ensuring a stable workforce remains one such issue. What we have to think about is the economic and political cycles in which we have to work. We are a servant of global trade and play an important role in moving freight and containers to keep the global supply chain moving.

“We want to make sure our business is stable and has a steady cash flow so that we can ride out any challenges and continue to make investments for the future. With our ships and systems, we are an asset-intensive business and we need to have a consistent investment plan over the next five to 10 years in order to continually bring new technologies on board and grow our business.

This investment pipeline is critical in order for us to fully utilize our latest systems, win new business and ensure we operate our container terminals and state-of- the-art vessels in a responsible manner with a focus on sustainability,” he said.

Sea change to eliminate carbon

“In terms of sustainability, we have to decarbonize the industry and remove the carbon atom from the supply chain. ONE and other major industry players are investing in new green technologies, however, implementing sea changes in the shipping industry can be challenging — vessels are unable to simply plug into the grid or switch to electric-hybrid power overnight.

“Storage of greener fuels such as hydrogen is also very expensive and difficult to implement, and the industry is going to have to invest in new synthetic fuels to drive sustainability.

“At ONE, we are committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Our recently launched ONE Eco Calculator calculates carbon dioxide emissions from our operating vessels, supports our goals of providing sustainable transport solutions and helps likeminded players and customers manage their own cargo emissions. This is just one of the tools we are using on our journey to net zero and we remain focused on working with our dedicated partners to create change.”

Green Strategy

“ONE’s Green Strategy is a concrete step towards accelerating our decarbonization ambition, which we have further cemented with an enhanced GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions reduction target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. In order to achieve this, we have developed a decarbonization plan covering five focus areas: green investment, alternative fuels, carbon management, operational efficiency (and) community ecosystem building.

“We continue to implement measures which enhance our operational and fleet fuel efficiency to ensure we achieve our 2030 targets on CI (carbon intensity). We are also embarking on new strategic initiatives to aid us in our net-zero transition. These include the adoption of an internal carbon price for future investment decision-making and the incorporation of carbon intensity as a key factor throughout the asset lifetime.

“To underscore the importance of collaboration in solving the climate change issue, we became a founding partner of the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation, joining hands with six other industry partners and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

“ONE will contribute $10 million Singapore dollars to support the establishment of the center, fund maritime-decarbonization-related research and technology development projects and collaborate with institutes of higher learning and research institutes. Collectively, our decarbonization initiatives will help us realize our vision of becoming a global leader in environmentally sustainable shipping.

“Ultimately, it is the dedication and support of our people that will determine if we reach our envisioned destination. Developing and engaging our employees so they can reach their professional and personal potential is a key focus for us as we seek to strengthen and diversify our talent base for the crucial years ahead.

“To this end, we launched a one-year mini-MBA program with Rutgers Business School to upskill senior management and developed the Knowing ONE training initiative to train new hires more efficiently. We will continue to prioritize training on leadership and management skills, empower our employees to diversify their skills sets and exposure and invest in initiatives that promote greater diversity and internationalism within our organization,” Nixon said.

Singapore-Japan connection

“Being headquartered in Singapore has undoubtedly enabled us to grow our business and we are proud of our continued commitment to Singapore and the close ties we have established with our friends and partners here. Just as Japan has ‘gone global’ we have successfully developed our international business from Singapore while strengthening our close ties to Japan. The Japanese aspects of our business sit well within our international approach to working with existing customers and new clients.

“We have three services a week from Singapore to Japan and we fully expect the relationship between the two countries to continue to flourish. As we strengthen our capabilities and apply them to functions across the company, we will continue to connect countries through our expeditious and reliable network across the world’s major trade lanes.

“Our first ever 24,000- TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit)-class Megamax ONE Innovation was successfully delivered at Kure Shipyard of Japan Marine United Corp. on June 2. The vessel will help bring economies of scale and significantly lower carbon emissions through its state-of- the-art hull design, which maximizes cargo intake and minimizes fuel consumption,” Nixon concluded.

Ocean Network Express
Jeremy Nixon

Related Articles


Related Articles