Now in Hong Kong             ~Interview with MOL Hong Kong~

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Interview with MOL Hong Kong

The cosmopolitan members of MOL FSRU Terminal at a party after training with VOPAK, organized by the Chief Regional Representative.

Long history with Hong Kong.
MOL Hong Kong Limited celebrated its
50th anniversary in 2021

The history of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines dates back to 1878, when the iron-hulled steamer Hideyoshi Maru began ocean transport of Miike coal (between Kuchinotsu and Shanghai), and to 1884 when 55 small and medium-sized shipowners in Osaka jointly established the Osaka Shosen Kaisha.

The service to Hong Kong started in 1899. Two years later, in 1901, a sub-branch office was opened in Hong Kong directly under the head office, and the following year, in 1902, it was promoted to a branch office with an office in the St. George Building overlooking the port of Hong Kong by the South China Sea. In 1971, "Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (H.K.)" was established after the merger of OSK Line and Mitsui Line (I wonder if Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (HK)’s setup was related to the 1964, and it celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021.

Through various eras, Hong Kong has developed as an international city. As a place where East and West meet, it has become a vibrant international trading hub, armed with the functions of a free trade and international financial center. MOL has continued to grow along with this history, and we asked Ryokichi Asai, the Hong Kong Chief Regional  Representative, about the current situation and future prospects for Hong Kong.

MOL Hong Kong Ltd. Webpage

Osaka Shosen Kaisha in Hong Kong, the predecessor of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, in 1902

Appearance of the office in the St. George's Building in Hong Kong of Osaka Shosen Kaisha,
the predecessor of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, in 1902

Hong Kong is home to Group companies in diverse business fields


Because of its long and deep ties with our company, the region is home to a number of group companies in various business fields. MOL Hong Kong, where I work as MD, provides shared services, described later, and develops ship agency services to support the safe and smooth arrival, discharge, and departure of various types of vessels such as car carriers and dry bulk carriers in Hong Kong. In addition, it also plays a driving role in the development of new businesses, an important pillar of our regional strategy. In the logistics business, MOL Consolidation Service, which operates the PO Management and Consolidation businesses, and MOL Worldwide Logistics, which operates the NVOCC business, are headquartered here. MOL Logistics (H.K.), the Hong Kong subsidiary of MOL Logistics, has the largest number of staff of any group company in Hong Kong, and is engaged in a comprehensive logistics business that includes air and ocean forwarding and warehousing.

MOL Information Technology Asia, which is responsible for IT in our group, and MOL LNG Transport (Asia), which is responsible for ship management for the LNG business, are also based here. Most recently, MOL FSRU Terminal (Hong Kong), which we will discuss in more detail later, is expanding its organization as it prepares to start full-scale FSRU operations here.

In addition, New Asian Travel Agency, a group company focused on travel agencies specializing in flight tickets and other arrangements for crew reassignment, is headquartered here, while South China Towing, our company subsidiary, operates tugboat services here. Hong Kong is also home to a number of other group companies that perform a variety of functions, including Joint Venture companies, as well as partners that have supported our company over a long history. 

Participation in offshore LNG receiving terminal operations with FSRU vessels

--Give us an example of MOL’s current work in Hong Kong.


In support of the Hong Kong government's environmental policy, local electric power companies are now converting their power generation fuel to natural gas, and the construction of Hong Kong's first LNG receiving terminal is underway. MOL will participate in the operation of this terminal by deploying FSRU vessel as well as Jetty operation & maintenance services and port services.

FSRU (Floating Storage and Regasification Unit) |MOL Services|Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Service Site (

LNG, which is used as fuel for power generation, is liquefied natural gas at an ultra-low temperature of
163, reducing its volume to about 1/600 and enabling efficient transportation. This Hong Kong Offshore LNG Terminal Project consists of the offshore platform and our company FSRU vessels. Our FSRU vessel provides a core function of the terminal, that is, receiving LNG from LNG carriers, storing and re-gasifying LNG, and sending-out high pressure gas to 2 onshore power stations via 20 km and 40 km undersea pipelines. The project makes good use of the advantages of FSRU vessels as an offshore base, as Hong Kong is a densely populated city with little room for land development for industrial use.


In addition, the Hong Kong government has set a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 under the "Hong Kong's Climate Action Plan 2050," and Hong Kong will go forward their fuel mix for electricity generation. With this project laying the foundation on the power generation industry in Hong Kong, we would like to be closely involved in the energy policy transition of the Hong Kong government and local electric power companies in order to support them under our Corporate Mission that we sustain people's lives and ensure a prosperous future of Hong Kong.

Related press releases:
MOL In Exclusive Discussions To Utilize "MOL FSRU Challenger" For Hong Kong Offshore LNG Terminal Project | Mitsui O.S.K. Lines

MOL signs deal on a long-term charter contract to utilize "MOL FSRU Challenger" for Hong Kong Offshore LNG Terminal Project | Mitsui O.S.K. Lines


MOL FSRU Challenger

MOL FSRU Challenger, the world's largest FSRU

Seek opportunities in offshore wind power

--What is MOL doing about switching to renewable energy?


Currently, Hong Kong has two major power companies, each of which has announced offshore wind power projects. MOL also wants to make inroads into the field of offshore wind power generation, taking advantage of the FSRU project network just discussedwhat does it mean?. Additionally, we believe there are many other fields in which we can contribute, such as Service Operation Vessels (SOVs) for maintenance.

In Hong Kong, so far, the share of renewable energy is still only 1%. We believe that offshore wind power projects are essential for Hong Kong to achieve carbon neutrality. We aim to contribute to Hong Kong's achievement of carbon neutrality by promoting MOL’s achievements to date and participating in these projects.

MOL participated in the “Eco Expo Asia 2021” held in Hong Kong in October 2021

MOL participated in the “Eco Expo Asia 2021” held in Hong Kong in October 2021 with the HK Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry. We introduced MOL's activities such as the Service Operation Vessel (SOV) for offshore wind power generation and the Wind Challenger.

Many people stopped to look at the SOV model (1/150 size), pictured left, including Mr. K.S. Wong, the Former Secretary of the Environmental Protection Department (shown in the photograph on the right).

 “MOL COILPORTER ®”, an innovative steel coil transport component promoted mainly in Hong Kong

--I heard that you have developed a new securement system as a next-generation trestle for the transportation of steel coils in containers.


Yes. We worked together with our affiliated group companies from conception to develop and commercialized the product under the name "MOL COILPORTER®". We have not advertised the product outside of Japan, but have already received many inquiries from overseas, so we took this opportunity to set up a new organization within MOL Hong Kong to expand sales globally. Steel coils carried on ships are used for various steel products. It is made from steel strips with an outer diameter of over 1m and a weight over 10 tons, making it a very difficult item to handle.

Steel Coil image


Container transport currently involves the use of a large amount of square timber, which is then fastened together as if building log-house. Of course, the work is carried out by professionals and the whole process, including measuring the square timber, cutting for assembly, and nailing, is carried out manually by a large number of skilled craftsmen. Dismantling at the unloading port is also hard work and waste wood disposal is also required.

Container transport currently involves the use of a large amount of square timber, which is then fastened together as if building log-house.


This labor-intensive work has remained unchanged since the last century and it has been an industry-wide challenge to modernize methods used. “MOL COILPORTER®” was developed in response to the need for a transport component specially designed for steel coils that can be safely assembled by anyone and reused many times. It is eco-friendly because it is made of polyethylene foam and reduces the amount of waste material. Its light weight makes it easy to carry and anyone can easily assemble it. Furthermore, it is also highly efficient, so the cost of vanning can be reduced. We would like to spread the availability of this product so that more customers can make use of it.

Container transport currently involves the use of a large amount of square timber, which is then fastened together as if building log-house.

Coils being fastened in a container using MOL COILPORTER ®


Related video (YouTube):

Related Press Releases: Introducing the MOL COILPORTER®, a Differentiated Product for NVOCC Business - Next-generation Cradle in Steel Coil Container Transport - | Mitsui O.S.K. Lines

4 steel coils being loaded into railway containers for transport by coastal conventional vessels

4 steel coils being loaded into railway containers for transport by coastal conventional vessels and ferries from Kobe to Okinawa
(approximately 1,000 coils have been transported safely and without damage in a year since October 2021).

Japan's high-quality and safe Japanese foods to Hong Kong with the same freshness as found in Japan

--You are also planning a project to transport Japanese food with cold-chain.


Hong Kong is one of the world’s top importers of Japanese agricultural and fisheries products. Fish, vegetables, meat, eggs, and dried foods such as sea cucumbers and shark fins are also popular, and many major Japanese supermarkets have entered the market here. There are many Japanese restaurants and izakayas(understand), and they are all so delicious that I have to be careful not to eat too much (I have already gained about 5kg since being posted here and am now on a diet!). Therefore, as a company involved in logistics in Japan, we intend to work on the cold chain* so that we can provide safe, high-quality Japanese food in fresher condition. Together with our group company, MOL Logistics (H.K.), we are participating as a member of “the Council for the Expansion of Imports of Japanese Food in Hong Kong”, organized by the Japanese Consulate. We started by investigating customer problems and demands. As we are a latecomer to the market, we believe it is essential to incorporate clear differentiation factors and offer new value. We have a lot of work to do, but we would like to develop a business model with our group companies here and in Japan so that we can move ahead with early commercialization.

*Cold chain Consistently transport food from production to transportation and storage (logistics entrance to exit), at the optimal temperature for each food product.

Shared services with knowledge and know-how accumulated over a long history

--There are many MOL group companies in Hong Kong, but is there any work that you are collaborating on?


Of course, there are a lot of things we collaborate on with each other in our regular jobs, with one of the most unique examples in Hong Kong being our “shared services”. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are various group companies in Hong Kong. The administrative departments of these companies, such as human resources, accounting, general affairs, and IT for operations, are integrated into MOL Hong Kong and they provide high-quality and efficient operations to the group companies as One MOL. It is extremely difficult for each company to maintain their administrative functions independently and at a high level when the workforce size is not so large. The group as a whole aims to improve business continuity, efficiency and quality through its shared services. We are proud that we have been able to develop such a distinctive service founded on our experience in developing highly experienced professionals over our long history in Hong Kong.

We are also committed to developing human resources and organizations for the entire group by reforming work styles, promoting diversity and inclusion, and implementing programs aimed at improving education and engagement among group companies, so that employees can be more creative in their work and lead more fulfilling lives.
For example, in August 2022 we implemented a leadership enhancement program, inviting the participation of group companies in Hong Kong.


leadership enhancement program, inviting the participation of group companies in MOL Hong Kong



The program started in 2012 and provides a good opportunity for executive candidates from each group company to share details about their responsibilities and information about their companies with the other participants.


In addition, in September, all MOL Hong Kong employees participated in Team Building training. MOL Hong Kong disseminated our corporate principle for a Creative mindset, Adaptation to the environment, Relationship with customers, and Enhanced professional approach (CARE) to serve as the foundation for all staff in the carrying out of their work duties.

Team Building研修1


In this Team Building training, under the principles of CARE, each randomly formed group worked on a variety of issues and games to foster a sense of unity, cooperation, innovation, and other elements of Team Building in a real experience scenario.

Team Building training in MOL Hong Kong

Team Building training in MOL Hong Kong

The training was very successful, with many of the employees who participated asking "when is the next Team Building training?"


Members of MOL Hong Kong who planned and prepared this training

Energetic and international Hong Kong is expected to remain a healthy environment and develop further, with a strengthening affinity with Japan

--Finally, what is your outlook for the future?


Hong Kong will continue to be competitive as an international financial center and free trade port. The so-called “Greater Bay Area Initiative”, which aims to unite the economies of Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong into one of the world's leading bay areas, startup support at the HK Science & Technology Park established by the Hong Kong government in 2001 to promote innovation and technology development, and a number of research centers set up by top foreign universities, are just a few examples of the various business opportunities that Hong Kong has to offer. Despite some negative media coverage in Japan, the energetic and cosmopolitan Hong Kong remains healthy and further development is expected in the future.

One of the reasons for the sudden increase in the number of travelers to Japan since around 2013 and 2014 is that travel to Japan has spread to a wide range of people. This has meant that Japan has become more and more familiar to the people of Hong Kong. In terms of food, I remember that when I was last posted to Hong Kong around 2000 to 2004, traditional Japanese food was expensive and such restaurants catered almost exclusively to Japanese customers, with Japanese food for the general public being given a Hong Kong taste, known as the "Japanese style". Nowadays, many Japanese restaurant chains have opened, and families in general can easily enjoy traditional Japanese food. I have met many people in Hong Kong who have expressed their frustration that they cannot visit Japan because of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. There is a feeling that local affinity with Japan is growing and we can look forward to stronger ties in the future.

Ryokichi Asai  Managing Director, MOL Hong Kong Limited.  Chief Regional Representative of Hong Kong, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.


-- Thank you.

Ryokichi Asai

Managing Director, MOL Hong Kong Limited.

Chief Regional Representative of Hong Kong, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.




I joined MOL in 1995. Most of my career has been spent in the container shipping and logistics business. I was posted overseas to Beijing for language training and then to Shanghai to work in our Chinese subsidiary headquarters. This is my second assignment to Hong Kong, the last time being when I was in the container shipping business. For some reasons, I have had a strong connection with Greater China throughout my overseas career. Currently I don't speak Cantonese at all, it is much more difficult than Mandarin, and I studied Mandarin over 25 years ago.
However, I would like to master at least one of these languages while I am in Hong Kong so that I won’t be ashamed of my overseas career.

MOL Wind Power Project

MOL Wind Power Project

The MOL Group will respond to a wide range of customer concerns related to wind power generation, from Feasibility Study to Engineering, logistics, construction, and O & M. A document outlining this service is available for download.

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