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Japan shippers' skinny fleets miss out on oil storage bonanza

With no spare tankers, top three transporters watch European rivals with envy

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines has focused on deploying LNG ships, such as this one, since the resource is less prone to price swings. (Photo courtesy of Mitsui O.S.K.)

TOKYO -- Japanese marine shipper Mitsui O.S.K. Lines is poised to report its best annual earnings in years thanks in part to low fuel prices. While costs are set to drop lower due to the crude oil crash, Mitsui's top brass are less than ecstatic.

"Why don't we have any extra tankers?" an executive bemoaned at Mitsui's Tokyo headquarters in mid-April.

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