Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (川崎汽船株式会社, Kawasaki Kisen Kabushiki-gaisha, branded as "K" Line, stylized as "K" LINE) is a Japanese transportation company. It owns a fleet that includes dry cargo ships (bulk carriers), container ships, liquefied natural gas carriers, Ro-Ro ships, tankers, and container terminals. It is the fourteenth largest container transportation and shipping company in the world.
|Subsidiaries||International Transportation Service|
K Line traces its origin to Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd, which itself was born in 1878, when founder and entrepreneur Kawasaki Shōzō (川崎 正蔵) established Kawasaki Tsukiji Shipyard in Tokyo, Japan, which, eighteen years later, in 1896, was incorporated as Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Ltd.
The shipping activities were developed when Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Ltd. (predecessor of Kawasaki Heavy Industries)'s President Kojiro Matsukata, decided to develop shipping services so as to provide business to Kawasaki Dockyard and to serve Japan's national industrial and trade interests.
To do so, he placed Kawasaki Kisen, Kawasaki Zosen and Kokusai Kisen under joint management to build a stronger fleet of 40 to 50 ships serving the Atlantic, North and South America, Africa and the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas.
In 1921, the joint name 'K Line' was adopted, based on the initial of the three companies.
K Line founder, Kojiro Matsukata, was also known as an art collector. The National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo's Ueno Park was established around the core of Matsukata's private collection. In addition, the Tokyo National Museum houses his extensive collection of Ukiyo-eprints.
By the end of World War II, Kawasaki Kisen had lost 56 vessels; 12 survived.
Prior to World War II, the holding company Kawasaki Heavy Industries was part of the Kobe Kawasaki zaibatsu, which included Kawasaki Steel and Kawasaki Kisen. After the war, KHI became part of the DKB Group (keiretsu).
During that vital recovery period, "K" Line steadily returned to the building and operation of ships, reestablished bases of operation around the world, increased earnings and took other steps to restore corporate strength and vibrancy of the company.
After the merger with Iino Kisen, "K" Line was newly capitalized at ¥9 billion and controlled a fleet of 104 ships, 55 of which were also owned by "K" Line. The merger gave "K" Line a solid foundation to advance dynamically into the future both as one of the world's largest shipping lines in terms of fleet size and as a well-balanced, integrated organization.
The Car Carrier transport division was inaugurated with the launch of the new Roll-on/roll-off vessel Toyota Maru No. 10. K-Line would thereafter enlarge the fleet up to 70 Car carriers vessels. All owned RORO vessels started to include in the first part of their names the word “Highway” (opposite to its container fleet's vessels that include the word “Bridge” into their names), to symbolize a link in between Japan and the rest of the world served by sea.
KESS - K Line Europe Short Sea is inaugurated in July 2003 in Germany, as a dedicated feeder operator in Europe specialized in brand new cars shipping in between European, Scandinavian, Baltic and Mediterranean ports.
The company tonnage is composed of 11 Roll-on/roll-off ships.
K Line Offshore AS was founded in Arendal, Norway in October 2007 as a subsidiary of K Line to provide offshore support services to oil and gas fields. They have commissioned new ships suitable for oil and gas fields in ultra-deep water, harsh environments and/or remote areas. They operate the following ships:
On September 30, 2007, Shuichiro Maeda, K-Line president, said the company will build 10 cargo ships to be manned by an all-Filipino officers and crew. The vessels are expected to be finished by 2010. It will employ 7,000 Filipinos in the next 4 years (3,330 officers and 3,600 ratings or crew). K-Line will build the K-Line Maritime Academy-Philippines operational in February 2008 and is intended to train at least 10,000 seafarers a year.
In 2017, K Line, Nippon Yusen (NYK) and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) announced that they would merge and jointly operate their global container shipping services as Ocean Network Express (ONE), in order to better compete against other global container shipping groups. ONE would merge all container shipping services of the three companies, as well as their port terminal operating subsidiaries in various countries, except in Japan, while keeping their other shipping services separate. ONE began operations on April 1, 2018. with the company headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, an business operation headquarters in Singapore and regional headquarters in: London, United Kingdom; Richmond, Virginia; and São Paulo, Brazil.
On 23 July, KESS car carrier Makassar Highway ran hard aground at full speed in the Tjust archipelago near Loftahammar, Sweden, causing an oil spill. By his own account, the captain had ordered a course close to land, far from established shipping lanes, in order to gain mobile phone reception. The ship's satellite communication system and black box were inoperable when departing Cuxhaven for Södertälje, and alarm systems had been disabled. The Swedish Coast Guard recovered approximately 7,000 litres (1,500 imp gal; 1,800 US gal) of oil by 30 July, but thousands of litres of oil nevertheless washed up on the coast. An estimated 14,000 litres (3,100 imp gal; 3,700 US gal) of oil were spilled. The ship was towed to Oskarshamn, where its cargo of 1,325 vehicles were offloaded. The chief mate was taken into custody and accepted a fine for intoxication and recklessness in maritime traffic. His blood alcohol content by mass at the time of the accident was estimated at 1.15 permille, based on samples taken after the accident. The oil spill is also being investigated as an environmental crime.
On 15 June 2019, car carrier Diamond Highway caught fire while sailing in between the ports of Singapore and Batangas.
Philippines Coast guard was alerted, and a mission to rescue the 25 members of the Crew was undertaken by another car carrier sailing in proximity. The ship had to be abandoned, and later towed to dry dock. The reason why the fire broke out is unknown, but possibly related to the cargo on board.
|Ship class||Built||Capacity (TEU)||Ships in class||Notes|
|Hannover Bridge-class||2006–2012||8,212-8,970||13||Operated by Ocean Network Express|
|Millau Bridge-class||2015–2018||13,900||10||Operated by Ocean Network Express|
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