Ocean Network Express L.L.C. is a leading container shipping firm with a liner network service extending over 120 countries across the globe. As a frontrunner in the industry, the company has invested heavily in cutting-edge IT systems to ensure high-quality services, reliability, innovation and customer satisfaction. The firm is striving to improve its eCommerce offerings as well as roll out new integrated CRM systems for its front-line commercial and customer support staff, thus allowing customers to experience more integrated and seamless services.
In conversation with The Zone, René Reinholz, Managing Director, ONE, and George Reshmin, General Manager – Corporate and Innovation, ONE, shed light on how the company’s commitment to technology, innovation and sustainable practices will stimulate growth in the shipping sector.
Give an overview of Ocean Network Express and how it became the 6th largest container carrier globally?
Ocean Network Express was formed on July 7, 2017, by the merger of ‘K’ Line MOL, and NYK. With the global headquarters in Singapore, ONE has regional headquarters in Hong Kong, Singapore, UK, USA, and Brazil.
Ocean Network Express LLC was established in Dubai in December 2017, as a joint venture between Ocean Network Express Pte Ltd, The Kanoo Group, Gulf Agency Company, and Privilege Investments. Since the inception of its commercial operations on April 1, 2018, the company has evolved to become the world’s 6th largest container shipping line, providing reliable services across the globe.
With a capacity of over 1,580,000 TEUs, our operations are carried out by a fleet of approximately 220 vessels, including 38 Super Post Panamax (Very Large Container Ships), including state-of-the-art 20,000TEU containerships, in a service network that spans over 120 countries.
Your Magenta vessels are a trademark of your company, what makes your fleet and containers so special?
It’s our name and our purpose. ONE emerged as a new entity from three Japanese liner companies who historically prided themselves on high level service quality and process excellence. These characteristics, are also the founding core principles of ONE. We constantly seek new solutions with our customers and partners. Our Containers have been painted the same colour as the Magenta-coloured vessels, and we are continuously investing in new equipment. Our Reefer fleet, for example, is the world’s youngest.
Your services extend to over 120 countries around the world, elaborate on your services in Jebel Ali, and why did you choose Jafza as your base in the Middle East?
We currently operate eight services at Jebel Ali. We chose Jafza as our preferred Middle East partner because of the world-class services it provides and Jebel Ali’s strategic location. Moreover, the Jebel Ali Port is a strong and reliable partner that can accommodate our mega 20,000 TEU vessels.
Your opinion on the smart trade capabilities of Jafza provided by Dubai Trade and the automation infrastructure available within DP World’s logistic hub?
We believe that digitalisation is the way to the future. Jafza has constantly developed and delivered digital and online solutions to its clients, including shipping lines, through Dubai Trade. ONE was the first shipping line in Dubai to adopt Dubai Trade’s Electronic Delivery Order system. With the launch of the system, paperwork and physical visits have been eliminated by 80 percent, while turnaround time has been reduced by 80 percent. Currently, we are aiming for 100 percent paperless and electronic solutions. We continue to work with Dubai Trade to provide consumers with innovative products and efficient online services through a single-window system.
Your company developed an e-Commerce solution, do you believe the market is ready to adopt such digital smart systems?
Absolutely. Change is inevitable. We transferred 100 percent of our customers to the new platform since the implementation of the Electronic Delivery Order system. There was minimal resistance because the online method was a smart and efficient solution for all stakeholders.
We have always been at the forefront of innovation, and have now launched ONE QUOTE, an app that allows customers to book services online. Additionally, our consumers are tech-savvy and require minimal training to get used to the new platform. We’re now working to integrate our systems with Dubai Trade so that our customers can have a seamless and fully automated experience.
As one of the largest shipping companies worldwide, how did you support economies and communities during the pandemic, and how did you manage to operate despite the restrictions?
We are now in the Top 3 Reefer Carriers with a relatively young fleet, and have shown resilience and continuity throughout the pandemic. As we had the required infrastructure in place and staff trained for contingencies, our everyday operations were hardly affected.
As a critical connector in the world’s supply chains, our role during the pandemic was to ensure that transportation of goods remained unaffected. Foodstuffs and pharmaceutical items being vital commodities frequently transported in Reefer Equipment had to be transported timely and reliably. During the launch of ONE, all employees were given laptops and state-of-the-art software, which made the transition from working in an office to working from home smooth.
Furthermore, we implemented our Business Continuity Plan while adhering to the safety standards provided by the Health Authorities. Customers could also use our website www.one-line.com to track and trace their containers.
ONE was the first shipping line in Dubai to adopt Dubai Trade’s Electronic Delivery Order system. With the launch of the system, paperwork and physical visits have been eliminated by 80 PER CENT, while turnaround time has been reduced by 80 PER CENT
You consider “Sustainability First” as a core value of your company, how do you adhere to this while maintaining profitability?
Profitability is important but not at the cost of sustainability. Our goal is to provide enhanced services and innovation, responsibly and sustainably. We are a Japanese firm at heart, and believe in kaizen, ‘change for better,’ to build a better tomorrow.
We are committed to conducting business responsibly, understanding the larger economic, social, and environmental effects of our actions. We recently established our “Green Strategy” Department at our Global HQ in Singapore, which is completely focused on those vital subjects.
As a container shipping company, it is our responsibility to ensure that our operations are carried out in a way that environmental impact is minimised. We also recognize the business value of positive environmental practices in a rapidly changing world, as well as the need to offer maritime transportation services with minimal environmental impact.
What are your expansion plans in the UAE and the region?
As a relatively new firm that began operations in 2018, we recognise and understand the great potential that lies in the Middle East, which is why we are always exploring new opportunities to grow in the region and expand our services to new ports and terminals in response to customer demands.
ONE describes itself as a company that is “large enough to survive, small enough to care.” We are now concentrating on our digitalisation initiatives to provide better services to our customers in the future. In terms of our initiatives, ONE OUOTE has been a huge success, and we have gone live with our new CRM system as well., The Middle East plays an important role in the success of these initiatives.