Understand the relation between Brazil and Japan in maritime transportation

  • 16/06/2022
  • 9 分钟

The relation between Brazil and Japan is longstanding. As a basis, it is possible to cite Decree-Law 97, from October 5th, 1892, which regulates the Brazilian opening to Japanese and Chinese immigrations. It is interesting to know the reasons that started this connection, since the history of cooperation between the two countries extends to the present day.

You can also listen to this article in the audio version.

To understand even more, we interviewed Toshitake Daigo, president at MOL Brasil Ltda. Read on!

The Japanese Immigration in Brazil

The arrival of the Japanese in Brazil happened because of mutual interest. While Japan sought relief from the social tensions caused by the high demographic index in their country, Brazil needed workforce. This was in the middle of 1888. With relations becoming closer, a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation was established between the two countries on November 5th, 1895.

The integration of the Japanese in our territory resulted in intense development for Brazil, especially in terms of agricultural technology, aerospace science, and culture. As far as the maritime field is concerned, the relation between Brazil and Japan began with the arrival of the Kasato Maru steamship.

Daigo talks a little more about it: “The O.S.K. Lines (Osaka Shosen Kaisha) company, MOL’s predecessor, bought the ship from the Japanese Navy in 1916. Thus began the maritime and commercial operations between Brazil and Japan. Since then, MOL has expanded its regular service between the countries to carry passengers and commercial goods.

He also highlights the role of Wilson Sons, a port intelligence specialist, in this event. “I remember that Wilson Sons was the shipping agent in Brazil when Kasato Maru arrived in Santos,” he says.

He continues: “During the 1980s and 1990s, containerization of the shipping business also began in Brazil. At that time, MOL transformed its service into a full container. Since then, we have supported the strengthening between countries in the transportation of ores, such as iron ore, and various agricultural products by bulk carriers.

Daigo concludes: “For countries located on the opposite side of the globe, shipping is the most important means of strengthening their relationship and partnership.

The evolution of Japanese-Brazilian maritime relations

As seen, Kasato Maru is the landmark of Japanese immigration to Brazil. This ship became known for bringing the first Japanese immigrants to the country in 1908. The former Osaka Shosen, which today is called MOL, bought the steamship. It then created a regular line stretching from the east coast of South America to Japan.

Since then, Japanese-Brazilian maritime relations have taken off – except for the breakdown of the relationship during the World War II. After its end, the relation between Brazil and Japan was resumed. Even after this return, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines built the luxury Brasil Maru ship using the most modern technology of the time. Today, MOL is operating the “Brasil Maru” third generation as an iron ore bulk carrier.

Import and export

Today Japan is one of the largest economies in the world. This makes it an active participant in maritime import and export activities. Some of the most exported items are automobiles, electronics, chemical products and equipment. In terms of imports, Brazil stands out for delivering baby food preparations, orange juice, and poultry to the Japanese.

The future of the relation between Brazil and Japan

With the receipt of MOL’s first ship, new doors open. Daigo comments on what to expect. “The international shipping business is always under free competition all over the world. As such, it faces constant economic and market fluctuations. To make it sustainable, MOL always reviews its business portfolio, looking for the best combination of profitability and stability,” he says.

Technology expansion and sustainability

This is such a relevant point brought up by Daigo. After all, MOL makes strong investments and research in order to establish effective measures to achieve the Social Development Goals. The use of fuels with lower CO2 emissions and wind power in shipping and the bet on electric power vessels are examples of this.

He reports: “Especially nowadays, it is increasingly important for shipping companies to protect the environment. This includes measures to prevent global warming. In this way we can develop effective sustainable solutions that can be useful to Brazil.”

Boosting river and sea transport

Daigo comments: “Brazil has a vast land territory and a long coastline between North and South. Therefore, there is no doubt that water transportation is an important measure in optimizing the efficiency of its economy. For Japan, an island country, maritime transportation is the most important measure to link its economy to the outside world. In this sense it is hoped that the two countries can maintain a good partnership and grow together.”

Cultural exchanges

The director talks about the positive points of the union between the countries’ cultures. “When it comes to expressing characteristics of people in Brazil and Japan, we used to say that Brazilians are very enthusiastic about starting something new. Thus, they seek to use new technologies quickly. On the other hand, the Japanese are more perfectionist. So, they do deep analysis to make a new technology perfect. And he concludes: “The combination of these two characteristics can be very good for the creation of innovative things.

The mutual contribution of the relation between Brazil and Japan is broad. While Brazil has opportunities to develop new technologies and attract giants like MOL to the national territory, Japan benefits, in addition to imported products, from a growing community of Brazilians in Japan – which completed 30 years in 2020.

If you want to know more about the contribution of Brazilian port intelligence to international operations, contact Wilson Sons. We have a team ready to answer your questions and share our cases!