SAIL OF THE CENTURY

Panama 2019 | LOGISTICS & MARITIME | INTERVIEW

Ocean Network Express is a merger of three shipping companies with a singular goal “to create the best shipping company in the world."

Julio De La Lastra
BIOGRAPHY
Julio De La Lastra graduated from the Pan American Institute (IPA), where he studied agronomy with a specialization in livestock. At INTEC, he studied computer science. He earned a degree in business administration from Nova University, Panama Campus. From 1978 to 1979, he worked in the security arm of the Canal Protection Division. Later, he was an employee of the Boyd Steamship Corporation, serving there until 2003. After that, he worked for Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) in Panama. In 2018, he became President and CEO of Ocean Network Express (ONE), Panama.

Can you tell us about the main highlights of the company?

Ocean Network Express (ONE) combined the best practices of three Japanese companies: Kline, MOL, and NYK. Together, they have more than 300 years of experience. They are full of capable and talented people. Our people are goal-oriented, which has been a key element of our success. In normal conditions, having three partners is not easy, but our partners have only one goal in mind: to create the best shipping company in the world. This includes the profitability as well as customer side. We want to exceed the expectations of our customers and be big enough to survive while being small enough to care. We also want our customers to have a person on the other end of the line who understands and cares about their business.

What have been ONE's main achievements?

Just in the Panama Canal, we have experienced substantial growth in many areas. There is a ranking system in place that identifies how important a given carrier is to the canal. This is measured by the amount of money paid in canal tolls and the number of ships that transit. A year ago, we were in 569th position. At present, we are ranked sixth. This gives a sense of how transformative the merger has been for the company.

How has the triumvirate's global experience translated into experience, market share, and customer experience in Panama?

Everything that we have done so far is rooted in our experience in our headquarters. Our global headquarters are in Singapore and our holding company is in Tokyo. From there, everything has fallen into place. The vision and mission of the organization were set out by the headquarters in Singapore. Each country was expected to implement this. In other words, we all knew how to operate in our specific sandboxes, but the overall strategy was consolidated and enumerated by our principals. Individuals from all three organizations are up to date with customers' needs.

Can you tell us a bit about the social activities of the organization?

In Panama, we know our customer base quite well. That is why we were able to create a close-knit community. The company participates in many social projects around the world. We have several CSR projects and are engaged in awareness-building efforts, such as free shipping to support the Second Harvest food program in North America every year. We are carrying clothes from Japan to victims of floods in Africa for free. We also provide containers for Olympic athletes in Japan to store their kayaks.

What are your main goals for 2019?

We want to further enhance focus on operational safety and minimize operational accidents both on land and at sea. The company has accomplished so much in one year, and I am sure that we will accomplish much more over the coming years. We have seen growth in Panama and around the world, which is mainly due to our talented workforce. Hard work and talent have carried us a long way. These two factors will continue to push us forward.