Genoa - When it reached port she was hard to miss. Ocean Network Express’ (ONE) “Blue Jay” is the first magenta-colored container ship to call at the port of Genoa. The 360-meter long, 14,000 TEU ship, which set off from Asia, was docked this week at PSA Terminal’s Pra quay, and is a symbol that Japanese shipping might be expanding into Genoa. Although based in Singapore, ONE is a shipping company from Japan, born from the merger of that nation’s three major carriers (NYK, MOL, and “K” Line), and which operates four services with the Ligurian capital. “Two are links with Asia, one with North America, and the fourth is a feeder connection within the Mediterranean, in conjunction with Hapag-Lloyd,” explains Angelo Chiarlo, the man heading the Japanese shipping company’s Genoa offices. Following months enduring the blow back from a negative trend in global container markets and changes following the company’s inception just over a year ago, “the month of June finally saw four full-weeks in the green as earnings exceeded costs,” explained the manager. “It represents an extraordinary feat, taking into account the fact that routes between the Far East and Italy are still losing money (and volumes), while ships bound for North America offer solid results.” Following the trade war with China, the United States has had to turn towards other markets, and Europe has taken advantage of that, at least at this stage: “Asia-bound routes, however, continue to look negative,” forecasts Chiarlo, “and we’re expecting that the drop in volumes will persist over the medium term.” Still, the numbers look satisfactory, and, compared to other EU offices, Italy’s performance is up there. “We compete on quality, not quantity” explains Roberto Giovannetti, the agency’s customer service manager, pointing out the company’s global services. “With a new route to India which has just been announced, we’re increasing to five the number of services from the Ligurian capital,” says Chiarlo. “That link, which includes transhipment to Damietta, guarantees the expansion of the route we’re offering.” The alliance with Hapag-Lloyd represents overall savings worth $20 million on feeder service costs, but carriers are currently trying to figure out what moves to introduce on Asia-Europe links: “The peak season is late, and less intense than in years past.” Meanwhile, Italy too is changing, and competitors like MSC are also expanding on the ground: “The Geneva-based company knows what it’s doing, their move into new business demonstrates an effective strategy.” On the land-side, ONE is also investing. “We’re facing the challenge head on. We’d like to do more, move greater volumes, but in La Spezia for example, we’re doing well thanks to pre-clearing.” Not long ago, the shipping company presented its first three magenta-colored trucks: “that was a clear sign of the company’s intent to focus on the logistics and road haulage sectors,” explains Chiarlo.