I would like to wish everybody a Happy New Year.
To begin with, I would like to thank all of you for working hard every day to realize our Long-term Vision, TRANSFORM 2025.
Review of 2018
Looking back over the past year, there have been concerns that the global economy would be adversely affected by trade frictions and so on, the future prospects of which remain unclear to this day. However, the economy has continued to realize moderate growth on the back of favorable employment conditions and solid capital investment, while demand for freight forwarding and transportation in the logistics market has also maintained a bullish tone. At Yusen Logistics, too, the efforts of all of you have meant that our ocean freight forwarding business has expanded since last year, while we have also managed to improve gross profits in our air freight forwarding business. Our logistics business, too, has increased sales through a variety of means, including investing in emerging countries and entering new fields of business. All Group employees have worked hard to turn insight into action and improve the quality of our services. As a united team that is expanding its scope worldwide and that embodies the ideal to “Create Better Connections,” I believe that 2018 as a whole has been an extremely positive year for the company.
This spring will mark the start of the 3rd year of TRANSFORM 2025. The Vision, Mission, and Values that we redefined in our Long-term Vision have penetrated far and wide among the company’s workforce of more than 24,000 employees. I would like to thank you all for your diligent efforts in carrying out the management strategies laid out in TRANSFORM 2025, and for steadily pressing forward in pursuit of shared goals.
From a global perspective, there has been clear progress in the establishment of multi-national free trade systems: the Japan-EU economic partnership agreement has been signed off, while TPP11 has also come into force. On the other hand, the rise of protectionism, as exemplified by Brexit and the U.S.-China trade frictions, have led to increased uncertainty in the global economy. Innovative new technologies that make use of AI, IoT, and big data—which are collectively known as “the 4th industrial revolution”—have also resulted in the generation of new business models, and this is bringing about significant change in societies and economies alike.
Faced with such a mutable business environment, it is important that we are able to respond in a flexible manner. We must therefore make steady progress with our core strategies, both to achieve our Mission and to realize the Long-term Vision of the company. In order to become “the world’s preferred supply chain logistics company,” we must not slacken our pace but, instead, seek to achieve further growth. When we do not know which way to turn, when we have difficulties making the correct decision, and when we are racked with doubt, let us look to the four core components of our business strategy, and return to the behavior models.
Each and every employee is an important company asset and has a leading role to play in supporting our core business activities. I would like once again to record my gratitude to you all for your daily hard work. At the same time, I have great hopes that you will engage even more proactively in voluntary initiatives in the future.
It goes without saying that our business activities must adhere both to the laws of the countries we operate in and to international rules and regulations. A failure to do so will lead to Yusen Logistics immediately losing the trust of society, and potentially even result in an existential risk to the company. It is for this reason absolutely vital that we recognize the risks of legal and regulatory violations, engage in our work with great awareness of the dangers we face, and continue to work hard to prevent compliance transgressions. Last year, we sought to raise awareness of the importance of compliance by implementing training programs and revising the Yusen Logistics Group Code of Conduct, which lays out behavioral standards that company employees must adhere to at all times. We will continue to implement such training and prevention activities in the future. I once again ask you all to maintain a strong awareness of compliance, and to work hard to ensure that you thoroughly abide by any and all relevant laws and regulations at all times.
As laid out in the TRANSFORM 2025 financial and handling targets, fiscal 2019 is set to be the year in which we fully achieve the quantitative goals of the first 3 years of our Long-term Vision. Consequently, it behooves us to accelerate our growth and steadily achieve results, so that we create a springboard for the next 3 years. Let us face up to changes in the market, understand the true, subconscious needs of our customers, and both focus our collective strength and increase our drive as we aim to accomplish the goals set out in TRANSFORM 2025.
So that all employees can achieve superior results, the company will concentrate on effectively sharing information between departments and establishing an organizational culture that encourages innovation and overhauls outdated working methods. The realization of these goals will contribute to an openness that enables employees to express any doubts they have and consult with those around them; this, in turn, will lead to better communication, and reinforce our governance. The company will also seek to demonstrate even greater respect for diversity, establish opportunities that enable its employees to continue undertaking new challenges, and create rewarding workplaces with a high level of employee engagement. Establishing a new corporate culture is no easy task; however, it is possible for us—who, as constituents of the Yusen Logistics Brand, share the same values—to do so. Let us make sure we are not constrained by old frameworks, and embark together on new challenges.
Finally, I sincerely hope that you and all your families will enjoy a healthy and fulfilling 2019. Thank you, and a Happy New Year to you all.