In December of 1964, “K” Line, one of the world’s largest shipping lines, made the historic decision to establish its own company in Thailand. At that time, “K” Line already had 45 years of experience in ocean shipping under its belt, and 22 years of experience in Thailand with representative offices and branch offices. Now it was time to jump in with a big commitment and take on a new challenge in Southeast Asia.
50 years later, we can look back on that day and realize its significance. Since then, K Line Thailand (KTL) has weathered the country’s economic crises, contributed to its economic growth, and established itself as one of the most trusted transportation and logistics service providers. With facilities and operations in key locations throughout the country, KTL has grown to become one of the largest overseas branches of the “K” Line Group.
December 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of K Line Thailand. In honor of the occasion, LM had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Nobuo Ishida, Managing Director of K Line (Thailand) Ltd. He spoke about the company’s amazing success over the past 50 years, along with his hopes for the future of KTL.
Reflecting on 50 Remarkable Years
It’s undeniable that “K” Line has one of ocean shipping’s longest histories and strongest pedigrees. Over nearly a century, “K” Line established a name for itself with its entrepreneurial spirit, comprehensive services and, most importantly, dedicated and service-minded employees. In the same vein, K Line Thailand has grown to become one of the “K” Line Group’s largest overseas branches. Its business is highly diversified with a good balance between ocean shipping and logistics activities. This is due in part to the company’s willingness to try new things and take on new challenges that can enable it to better meet customers’ needs.
“By being open to change, “K” Line is able to move fast to keep up with the latest industry trends and customer requests.”
“At the moment, ocean shipping makes up about 25 percent of our total business, and the logistics business makes up 75%. But our logistics activities are highly diversified. For example, KTL offers cold storage, general warehousing, trucking and customs clearance, among other services. In the past, we’ve always been open to trying new challenges in a wide variety of business sectors. At one point we even operated river barges and container manufacturing companies. We tried many things, and not all of them worked, but it allowed us to find the areas that are best for us and for our customers,” remarks Mr. Ishida. This openness to looking for new opportunities is why KTL is able to offer one of Thailand’s most comprehensive portfolios for one-stop logistics. “By being open to change, “K” Line is able to move fast to keep up with the latest industry trends and customer requests.”
Of course, another incredibly important factor in K Line Thailand’s success is the people who make all of it happen. Remarkable teams in key locations all over the country enable KTL to provide seamlessly integrated transportation and logistics services with high quality, reliability and excellent customer service.
Mr. Ishida comments, “It is not always apparent to people on the outside, but I have to say that one of K Line Thailand’s strong points and reasons behind our success is our people. The people here at KTL are very honest, diligent in their jobs and hard-working. Thanks to them, we are able to satisfy our customers’ demands. Without our team, we could not have achieved this growth and success over the last 50 years.”
It’s not just KTL’s current employees that have made the company’s achievements possible. Mr. Ishida also has many other people to thank for K Line Thailand’s success, “Everything that we’ve achieved has been thanks to all of the support we’ve received over the years from a wide variety of people. I truly wish to thank our customers, investors and partners, as well as past directors and employees, and additionally “K” Line headquarters in Tokyo.”
“With everybody’s help, K Line Thailand has become a huge success. Thanks to the welcoming nature of the Thai people and the government’s efforts to encourage and support foreign investment, K Line Thailand has been able to grow in step with the Thai economy. Furthermore, I feel we have made a valuable contribution to Thailand’s economic growth, as well as the local transportation and logistics industries. My duty is to keep the ball rolling – and growing bigger and bigger. I hope to help make an even stronger and better K Line Thailand in the coming years.”
Big Dreams for the Future
KTL already has one of the industry’s best portfolios in terms of services, facilities and experienced staff, but Mr. Ishida and the K Line Thailand team want to continue making enhancements that will ensure an even better one-stop logistics package. “At the moment, we have just about everything you might need as a tool for supply chain management: various warehousing facilities such as cold storage, around 650 trucks, and specialized, dedicated and experienced teams for each task. We’re also in the process of expanding our warehousing footprint with a new Bangkok Cold Storage warehouse on Motorway no.7, a new “K” Line Container Service facility and a new Bangkok Marine Enterprises truck depot.”
“Therefore, we can already offer a complete one-stop package for supply chain management. But of course, there are always some areas that we can improve. For instance, we will continue making moves to enhance our IT solutions and connections with neighboring countries, which would help KTL expand its cross-border trucking services. Additionally, we’re continuously working to build our experience and expertise as well,” says Mr. Ishida.
“Of course, the “K” Line Group has branches and offices all over the world, and they all have their strengths. Some are strong in IT solutions, while others are strong in warehousing or trucking. They’re all very different. If all of “K” Line’s offices collaborate to share know-how, with everyone’s various skills and experience, we can work together to grow together. In my opinion, K Line Thailand is very well-balanced and diversified in logistics. Therefore, it is my dream that K Line Thailand can one day lead our “K” Line Group companies in developing the one-stop total logistics business. It is a difficult dream to attain, but I will do my best.
By any measure, “K” Line has had a very successful 50 years in Thailand. Thanks to the support of customers, partners, employees and the “K” Line Group, KTL has risen to become a leader in Thai logistics. But they’re certainly not resting on their laurels. According to Mr. Ishida, “Thailand has been a wonderful place to do business. “K” Line is excited to continue to invest in Thailand and do our part to boost Thai logistics. We’re incredibly proud of what has been accomplished here at K Line Thailand over the past 50 years. I look forward to seeing the next 50 years filled with even more great achievements.”
For an overall view of K Line Thailand’s services, check out K Line Thailand’s corporate video: