However, he noted, despite the uncertain international situation, the global economy is showing gradual improvement. Japan, too, is seeing better corporate performance as a result of improvement in overseas economies and a favorable employment environment. With economic activity gathering steam globally, the world’s economic growth rate began moving upwards last year.

Mr. Murakami namely outlined the major challenges set under the company's medium-term management plan “Revival for Greater Strides - Value for our Next Century,” which include rebuilding of portfolio strategy, pursuing of advanced management and strategy, and enhancing of ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) initiatives. 

"For rebuilding our portfolio strategy, we will strengthen businesses that generate stable earnings as we also nurture next-generation core businesses and strive to achieve revenue stability and growth. In reviewing our portfolio, we will premise our efforts on securing returns that are commensurate with capital cost while managing the total risk by bringing greater sophistication to our risk/return management."

The integration of Containership Business and Overseas Terminal Business by the three major Japanese shipping companies is a first step in K Line's effort to rebuild portfolio. Ocean Network Express (ONE), the new containership company, is scheduled to start its service in April of this year.

"This spring, we will take a giant step forward as a brand-new “K” Line Group. Moreover, 2018 will be the year in which we solidify our foothold in preparation for the next 100 years. I believe that, if we steadfastly execute our respective roles and consolidate our strengths as professionals, this one year will become an important link to a new era."