Yusen Logistics is well known around the world as a top logistics provider offering comprehensive, high quality service and outstanding customer care at competitive rates. Over the years, Yusen has achieved remarkable success in its business, enabling the company to expand its network to nearly 300 cities in 40 countries around the world.
At Yusen Logistics, good business is not only about giving their all to the customer but also about giving back to the community. In fact, CSR (corporate social responsibility) is one of the company’s key priorities. Here at Yusen Logistics Thailand, Mr. Hiroshi Maniwa, President and Chief Executive Officer, has led the charge for an exciting new initiative: Yusen’s Thai-Japan Bridge CSR.
This initiative has been created to support a most worthy foundation: Ban Rom Sai Children’s Home in Chiang Mai. Founded in 1999, Ban Rom Sai was established as an orphanage for HIV-afflicted children. Today, Ban Rom Sai offers a safe haven for 30 children – they take care of them, send them to school, and prepare them to live independently when they reach the age of 18.
Mr. Maniwa explains, “I firmly believe that one of our company’s most important responsibilities is to give back to the community. Because of this, we have CSR activities nearly every month. However, I wanted to broaden the scope of these activities to provide a bridge between Japanese and Thais. That’s why I decided to support Ban Rom Sai. When I went to visit their site in Chiang Mai, I was so impressed with the Japanese women and their staff who are taking care of children there. I’m so glad I found a CSR activity that can link Thai and Japanese communities; that’s why I named this project Thai-Japan Bridge CSR.”
Ban Rom Sai was founded by Ms. Miwa Natori, a Japanese woman. In 1997, she visited Thailand and was moved by the plight of HIV-afflicted orphans, who inspired her to open Ban Rom Sai. Ban Rom Sai takes care of 30 children, many of whom must take anti-viral HIV medications on a daily basis. It should come as no surprise that the non-profit’s costs are huge. The estimated yearly costs of raising each child – not including HIV medicines – is estimated to be USD 5,125 per year. Anti-viral medicines add another USD 4,310 per child.
Ban Rom Sai’s funding comes from three main sources. The first are donations, which make up an important part of their funding. The other monetary sources are projects and businesses that Ban Rom Sai has started, which help them to be self-sustaining and continue doing this life-changing work.
The second major source of income is Hoshihana Village, Ban Rom Sai’s guest house business, which has been one of their most successful projects. The cottages are located 30 minutes from Chiang Mai’s city center, and all proceeds from the guest houses go directly to the orphanage. A peaceful place to relax, Hoshihana Village has become popular with Japanese and Korean tourists visiting Chiang Mai.
The third source of income is the making and selling of handicrafts, including clothing, purses and other accessories. The older teens at Ban Rom Sai, along with volunteers, help to make these products. Some are sold in Chiang Mai, but most of the products are exported to be sold by Ban Rom Sai Japan, the corresponding Japanese non-profit organization, which has a store and also holds regular fundraising events in major cities in Japan.
This is where Yusen Logistics has come in to provide its service and expertise, as Mr. Maniwa describes, “Ban Rom Sai has been paying around one million baht per year to transport these goods to Japan. Each month, they have an average of six shipments of 50 kg each.”
From our point of view, the burden is so small, that we are happy to do it for them. So I told Ms. Natori to let us handle all of the transportation for the goods.
Yusen has agreed to take care of all the transportation aspects, including trucking from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, airfreight from Bangkok to Tokyo, and domestic distribution within Japan. Yusen Logistics Thailand has a daily truck service connecting Chiang Mai and Suvarnabhumi Airport, so the first phase was easy to secure. For the second part of the journey, Mr. Maniwa turned to his partners within the NYK Group. “Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA), which is a member of the NYK Group, now has six freighter flights per week between Narita and Suvarnabhumi. I asked the president of NCA Thailand to support us, and he accepted my proposal.”
Then, the only thing left was distribution within Japan, and Mr. Maniwa found a solution for this as well. “Because the NYK Group does not have a trucking business in Japan, we are using companies outside the Group for domestic distribution. Thus, I’m not sure if our headquarters will cooperate with us. But finally, after discussing with Tokyo headquarters’ CSR team, they joined us in everything. In the end, the remaining transport costs for Ban Rom Sai are import taxes and VAT.”
This is not simply a short-term agreement. Yusen is fully committed to helping Ban Rom Sai for the long term; they will be providing free transport indefinitely.
Transportation assistance is not the only way that Yusen has supported Ban Rom Sai. Upon learning that Ban Rom Sai has been using two very old pickups with increasingly expensive repair costs, Mr. Maniwa took the initiative to speak with some of Yusen’s close business partners. “I spoke with Tri Petch Isuzu, the sales agent of Isuzu trucks in Thailand. Isuzu is our main supplier of trucks and pickups. They were very happy to join us; within three days, they agreed to donate an almost-new truck which had only been used for demonstration purposes.”
As the culmination of all of their hard work, Yusen has held a ceremony to celebrate the launch of their very first cargo shipment for Ban Rom Sai. It’s an important moment for Mr. Maniwa, who hopes to impart a lesson with his Thai-Japan Bridge CSR. “Yusen is already doing CSR on almost a monthly basis. Although I think giving donations is important, I want to teach everyone what CSR really is on a long term basis. Simply giving is not enough. Everything we do for them, everything we give to them, has to come from the heart – otherwise, it will not be as meaningful.”
For this Ban Rom Sai CSR, so many people on both the Thai and Japanese sides have touched the project and positively impacted the children’s lives. I think this is what it truly means to give back to the community.