zoom The shipping industry is not shielded from the new trends stemming from disruptive innovation, including those that have transformed the way goods are distributed in society.“No one should be surprised to see disruptive innovation reshape the shipping industry at any time. Know that once we can clearly see the change, it is already too late. The frontrunners who instigated the change have already set their sights farther ahead,” President & CEO of Mitsui O.S.K Lines (MOL) Junichiro Ikeda said in his New Year message to the company employees.In order to stay ahead of the curve, MOL needs to drive new innovation, Ikeda added, stressing that the tides of change are relentless.“Heightened environmental awareness in society compels us to achieve further transformation, or in other words, to drive innovation. We are pushing ahead with this imperative. Specifically, we seek to develop environmental and emissions-free businesses into future core businesses of the MOL Group, a key pillar of the management plan,” he said.According to Ikeda, MOL is entering the second year of its rolling plan 2017 and in 2018 the company will be drawing up specific business policies based on in-depth discussions with each division.In 2017, MOL Group launched its investments in line with the Vision for the MOL Group Ten Years from Now, as laid out in the plan.Notably, the company invested in the LNG carriers and offshore businesses, entered the self-elevating platform vessel business, took part in a floating LNG receiving terminal project in India, expanded the Yamal LNG project, and made inroads into wood chip transportation.“Efforts were also focused on upgrading organizations which are expected to grow and increase in scale, including the New Business Creation and Group Business Division and the Port Projects & Logistics Business Division.“Moreover, we have been carefully laying the groundwork for integration of the MOL Group’s containership business with two other Japanese shipping companies. Ocean Network Express, a new business venture, will finally commence services in April 2018. It will be a major turning point for MOL and mark a new beginning,” Ikeda pointed out.2017 kept MOL on its toes as the operating environment surrounding the group became increasingly unstable due to factors such as the North Korea situation. In addition, the shipping market is yet to attain fully-fledged recovery.However, MOL expects to finish fiscal 2017 with results in line with its initial forecasts, “as steady operational enhancements and efforts on the sales frontline come to fruition,” following business structural reforms.