Japan’s Kumiai celebrates 20th year in Lion City

May 8, 2015 00:00 GMT
Irene Ang

Japan’s Kumiai celebrates 20th year in Lion City

Japanese-controlled Kumiai Navigation toasted its 20th anniversary in style with a reception at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Singapore.

Around 200 guests attended the event, with some flying in from Japan and Europe. A generous selection of drinks and fine Japanese food was served.

Kumiai, which is a subsidiary of Kumiai Senpaku in Japan, was set up in Singapore in 1995 to achieve lower operating costs.

“Looking back to those days of 1995, the shipping industry in Japan was hit hardest by the rising yen-induced recession,” said Kumiai managing director Tomomaru Kuroyanagi in his address.

“The conventional business model no longer worked well for Japanese shipping owners. It was high-time for small and medium-size shipowners such as ourselves to transform our model and venture out overseas.

“Singapore was selected over other countries due to its great efficiency and strong support from the government. We also anticipated the country would become a major hub in Southeast Asia.”

Kumiai started off with six secondhand vessels purchased from its parent company. Today, it boasts a fleet of 18 ships, including newbuildings, totalling more than 1.5 million dwt.