K Line

This article is about the Japanese shipping company. For other uses, see K-line (disambiguation).
K Line
Public KK
Traded as TYO: 9107
Industry Transport
Founded 1919
Founders Kojiro Matsukata
Headquarters Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Subsidiaries International Transportation Service
Website kline.co.jp
Stack of K Line vessel "Vincent Thomas Bridge"
K Line container on the road in Belgium

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (川崎汽船株式会社 Kawasaki Kisen Kabushiki-gaisha), also referred to as "K" Line, is one of the largest Japanese transportation companies. It owns and/or controls large cargo ships, including dry cargo ships (bulk carriers), container ships, container terminals, liquefied natural gas carriers, ro-ro ships and tankers.

It is the sixteenth largest container transportation and shipping company in the world.



K-line container ship steaming into San Francisco Bay, June 2007

"K" Line (named after three K initials) was formed when Kojiro Matsukata 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. According to Lloyds, the newly established "K" Line was ranked 13th in the world in 1926, behind NYK (9th) but ahead of O.S.K. (14th).

By the end of World War II, Kawasaki Kisen had lost 56 vessels; 12 survived.


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.


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.


K Line opens International Transportation Service, a container terminal company in the Port of Long Beach.


KL Saltfjord in Bergen harbour

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:

10 Ships to be manned by Filipinos

K Line containers aboard a Chinese boat on the Yangtze in Wuhan

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.[1]



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