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NYK president gives annual New Year’s Message

The following is an excerpt from the New Year’s speech made by NYK president Hitoshi Nagasawa as business opened for 2021.

Excerpt from the Message

Happy New Year! I would like to say a few words to everyone in the group as we begin another year.

Let’s first take a quick look back on the events of last year.

COVID-19 forced the adoption of extremely difficult work styles, and I truly feel everyone made a great effort. Through your effort, as announced on December 24, we expect to achieve a consolidated recurring profit of more than JPY 100 billion through the end of the third quarter. I sincerely thank and express my respect to all of the NYK Group employees for helping to achieve this better-than-expected result despite the challenging business environment.

However, although the financial results are good, there were also adverse incidents such as the fire aboard Asuka II and accidents aboard two containerships managed by the group. In particular, the accident aboard ONE Apus involving the collapse of container stacks and loss of containers overboard is one of the largest accidents to occur in recent years, and I ask everyone to once again heighten your awareness of ensuring safety.

Heading into 2021, the COVID-19 vaccine is starting to be deployed, and the world is expected to gradually enter the post-COVID phase. The main point going forward will be to what extent the new work styles, as well as the new logistics models, will remain in place. The Biden administration’s policies in the U.S., structural changes in trade after the U.K. leaves the EU, and the shift to lifestyles suited to the new normal will likely trigger rapid changes within society. It is not easy to foresee the future, but I ask you to remain attentive to the current situation and agilely respond to the changes that occur in society.

Also, 2021 will likely be the year in which the term “ESG” receives even more attention.

In Japan, the establishment of a JPY 2 trillion fund for supporting R&D in the green domain has been announced officially, and similar movements are already underway elsewhere around the world. As I have said many times, companies that fail to respond to society’s demands in relation to ESG will, without a doubt, not survive more than several years. However, it is not enough just to talk about the importance of ESG. In order to firmly establish ESG as part of our corporate culture, it will be necessary for all employees throughout the group to fully understand and to transform awareness so that ESG is used as a measure for judging all actions. We are planning as a group to announce an NYK Group ESG Story in February of this year.
I want 2021 to be the year in which we start to transform our awareness, and I ask you all to give serious attention to this matter.

While the global logistics network was unstable due to COVID-19, everyone working on the front lines of operations throughout the group put their lives at risk to protect the flow of goods around the world. In particular, the seafarers continued to strongly support operations despite the challenging environment resulting from the inability to sign off as scheduled. Based on a strong determination to fulfill our mission to “Keep the logistics lifeline open,” we played a major role in the urgent transportation of medical supplies. As a businessperson, there is nothing greater than to be needed by society. You, too, have likely felt this. Let’s take pride in being part of an NYK Group that contributes to society and work together to propel the group forward in an even better direction.

Lastly, I pray that you and your family will have a healthy, fulfilling year in 2021.