ONE taking steps to overcome merger launch challenges

MOL ship at port

April 30, 2018 - As reported in Lloyd’s Loading List, since NYK, MOL and K Line commenced combined operations as ONE at the start of April, UK customers have reported issues including communication inadequacies, staff and equipment shortages, IT chaos and missed pick-ups due to booking failures.

Some customers had particularly expressed surprise – and frustration – at the supply chain difficulties suffered this month given that ONE’s management has had a year to prepare for merging the operations of the three legacy shipping lines. However, ONE’s Europe and Africa region communications team told Lloyd’s Loading List that, in Europe at least, there were limitations placed on co-operation between the three Japanese carriers ahead of ONE’s launch.

“The merger of three global shipping lines was always going to be a challenge” said ONE. “Up to April 2018, all three lines were competitors and bound by anti-competition regulations which restricted the involvement of the majority of staff prior to the start of business.

“This, combined with the overwhelming interest in ONE, has led to certain service issues such as document turn-around times. ONE is addressing these issues, and dedicated staff have worked over the last three weekends to clear up the backlog.”
Staff shortages were also being addressed. “We are in the process of adding another 15% headcount to our back-office service centres to further accelerate response times,” said ONE in an email to Lloyd’s Loading List.

Customers also complained of multiple IT issues at ONE that they said had resulted in bookings going astray; but the carrier said this was mostly caused by a lack of personnel familiar with the NYK legacy system now being rolled out across the network – a short-term challenge that would quickly be resolved.

“Our systems and hardware are working correctly,” the company said. “ONE had the option of three different IT platforms from each respective company and selected NYK Line’s Opus system, an effective and robust platform which NYK has used successfully since 2016. 

“The main issue has been the shortage of staff during transition, which will shortly be resolved.”

A number of UK forwarders told Lloyd’s Loading List they had not been able to reach previous contacts at the individual carriers when problems with shipments had arisen. ONE said this was because of the reorganisation currently being conducted at offices across the UK.

“In terms of the UK, ONE will move to new regional headquarters in London this summer,” said the company’s European communications team. “Our regional agency offices will be in the same city locations covered by K-Line, NYK and MOL, although in some instances team members will have different ONE responsibilities than they had under the legacy companies.

“In order to wind down the legacy companies, some employees from K-Line, NYK and MOL have been retained in their legacy organisation to support any business involving past shipments. But very shortly all sun-setting activity will be completed and they will be released to join ONE.

“We are fully committed to restoring ONE service levels to the same level as customers experienced at our legacy lines.”

Since the publication of the story on 20 April outlining ONE’s reported UK failings, forwarders from the US and Asia have contacted Lloyd’s Loading List to report similar difficulties. 

Source: Lloyd's Loading List