Treasury Strategy & Transformation
Published  9 MIN READ

The Power of ONE: Building Treasury’s Digital North Star

Created from a triple merger, Ocean Network Express (ONE) had just nine months to digitise, streamline and automate treasury processes. Here, Toshiaki Ichida, General Manager, Treasury, ONE, is joined by Ziad Kabbara, Global Sector Head, Transportation, Aviation and Logistics, and Clarice Kwa, Vice President, Transportation, Aviation and Logistics, Global Liquidity and Cash Management, HSBC, to discuss highlights of ONE’s treasury transformation journey – ranging from robotic process automation to data visualisation.

Headquartered in Singapore, ONE is the world’s sixth largest container shipping company. It was formed in 2017 as the result of a merger between the three biggest Japanese shipping lines: K-Line, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK). From its inception, ONE’s management team has looked to accelerate growth by leveraging technology to: enhance existing business models; develop innovative services for current markets; create value in new markets; and challenge the industry status quo with fresh digital services (see box 1).

Box 1: Digital is in ONE’s DNA

In April 2019, ONE established the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) with A.P. Moller- Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, and MSC. The goal of the new association is to pave the way for interoperability in the container shipping industry through digitisation and standardisation. In July 2019, ONE joined TradeLens, a society to digitise the global supply chain by improving the precision of tracking shipments in real time.

The vision for ONE’s treasury team was no different: digitisation was the order of the day. But a significant challenge lay ahead, as Ichida explains: “The triple merger meant that three individual treasury departments needed to be transformed into a single, efficient treasury structure. Each individual treasury had different systems, however, as well as disparate bank accounts, workflows, cultures and operating models. To complicate matters further, we had only nine months to put in place a global cash management set-up – and our cash transactions are widespread throughout the world, resulting in a dispersed and complex operating cash flow.”