Mr. Hideo Okada
International Affairs Department
Could you tell our readers about the history and current ownership of Logistics Mates?
Logismate (Logistics Mate Corp.) was founded in Tokyo by a joint business venture between Koshida Corp and Japan Logistics System (Japan Logitem) on a half/half share basis. So the owners of our company are both Koshida and Japan Logitem. Koshida is a trading firm whose main business is the sales of Mitsubishi Electronics products, especially automobile parts as the sole agent for selling to all Japanese automakers except Toyota for the Eastern part of Japan. Japan Logitem is a listed logistics company with 727 employees (3,659 for the group), 1,000 trucks/trailers, and 800,000 SQM of warehouse space across the country.
For how long have you been working there and what is your freight forwarding & shipping background?
I joined Logismate in June, 2016, so I’ve been working there for 6 years + 8 months.
I worked for Schenker Tokyo for 26 years. At first, I was working as a Foreign Account Controller for 6 years there. Then I transferred to their Int’l Project Dept. and worked for 20 years. I mainly worked for Operation/Quotation/Sales for MHI (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries), MHPS (Mitsubishi Heavy Power System), IHI, Voith IHI, Kobe Steel, Hitachi Zosen, Samsung Engineering, Korea, etc.
I then moved to Panalpina Tokyo as BU Head of Energy Solutions for 2 years. I mainly handled several projects for Toyo Engineering, Chiyoda Corp and joined Logismate, thereafter.
Do you have experience handling project, oversized & heavy cargoes in Japan? Could you tell our readers about some of the projects you have handled?
Yes, I am experienced in handling hundreds of tons of heavy pieces, such as Coldbox, ACC, Rotor, Vessel, Module, etc. from/to Japan. Last June, we arranged for 1 unit of 375 tons Turbine Generator from Yokohama to Toshiba Keihin work (near Yokohama) by barge + off-loaded there by shore crane for the consignee’s module trailer. This business actually came from cooperation with CLC Projects member, DT Project America. Also, we have been working on several shipments for Yankee Dryer, such as 1 x 83.1mt/pc from Sweden to tissue paper factories in Japan, including inland transportation with necessary road permits.
How is the business in Japan at the moment? Do you foresee a good year 2023?
So far, our business is okay, but I’m afraid that due to unstable elements all over the world, automobiles and their parts, white goods, etc. are getting reduced these days. However, I’m optimistic for 2023, for sure! We have well-experienced staff who have high level expertise and know-how. Also, we have a strong and tight-knit worldwide network, as well as domestic reliable partners. As Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
How do you feel about the cooperation with the shipowners & carriers these days? Are they generally difficult or do you find them service-minded overall?
I regret to inform you, but due to the merger of breakbulk carriers and the fact that my friends in the market are getting older/retired, it’s not easy to get the competitive rate/service these days. As for the container business, as you know, we will have to get the rates by website. It’s not easy.
Being an island, Japan has many ports. In your experience, which ports would you say are more used to handle project cargoes, and are there ports you prefer to use if there is a choice?
Yes, we have many ports in Japan and the number of ports for trade are more than one hundred across the country from Hokkaido to Okinawa. Among them, the main ports are Tokyo/Yokohama/Nagoya/Osaka/ Kobe.
Yokohama and Kobe are the biggest ports for project cargo handling since there are enough facilities, including handling equipment/warehouse and well-experienced workers in both ports. However, we can handle inland transportations, including sea from local ports.
How about customs clearance in Japan? Is it difficult?
We do not see any problems for the regular shipments for sure, but for the very first shipment, especially for imports, there might be difficulties clearing the customs. Also, for shipments of spare parts, a lot of preparation, clarification, etc. might be required, so as to clear the customs.
Do you belong to any international networks currently?
Yes, we belong to CLC Projects Network.
How would it be best for our readers to get in touch with you?
Please get in contact with me by e-mail when you have any inquiries or questions. In case of an emergency, please call my mobile in due course.