Nippon Yusen Kaisha was born on September 29, 1885 with the merger of Yubin Kisen Mitsubishi Kaisha and Kyodo Unyu Kaisha that took place after a period of political strife as well as competition between these companies. The Company’s name was changed to Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha in 1893. The Company, popularly known as NYK, began operations on October 1, 1885. The NYK fleet of 69 ships consisted of 58 steamships and 11 sailing ship and the steamship fleet aggregated 77% of Japan’s total registered steamship tonnage. The fledgling company had only three overseas services were poised for growth. By the turn of the century, Nippon Yusen Kaisha was ready to expand its overseas trade and commenced its Bombay Service in 1893, followed by services to Europe, North America and Australia in 1896, thereby firmly entrenching NYK as a major ocean carrier. The conclusion of the World War One brought Japan and NYK to face tough weather. Merging with Toyo Kisen Kaisha, NYK deployed its own luxury passenger liners in the Pacific Ocean. The Great Depression of 1929 affected NYK to a large extent. Business recovered in times to come, and NYK celebrated its Golden Jubilee on October 1 1935 owning 85 ships, aggregating 627,000 gross tons with a total of 1989 employees serving the company both on land and sea. NYK Line services included passenger and cargo services to Europe, the east and west coasts of North America, The Gulf of Mexico, and the west coast of South America, Australia, India, China and the South Sea Islands. Fifty years after its founding, NYK was well on the way to becoming one of the largest shipping companies in the world. The world war two saw the beautiful luxury liners requisitioned in preparation of war. At the beginning of the war, NYK has 133 ships and 89 more ships were built during the war. Only 36 ships survived the war. This was coupled with the tragic loss of the lives of 5312 NYK employees, most of whom were seamen.


The Shipping Industry in Japan, supported by the re-privatization and special support to the ship building industry post the world war, started the long rebuilding process. NYK was on the path to developing into a comprehensive shipping company. In 1959 NYK ventured into operating oil tankers and building specialized carriers for importing raw materials and exporting finished goods, thereby contributing to the rapid growth of the economy. In 1965 the industry was revolutionized by containerization and NYK immediately launched its containerization program to cope with the new requirement by commissioning Hakone Maru in 1968, Japan’s first container vessel. Slowly but surely NYK diversified in bulk carriers, ore carriers and LPG tankers. NYK’s first Pure Car Carrier, Toyota Maru was completed in 1970. PCC’s permitted more efficient handling of cars. In 1985, Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA), a joint venture between NYK and three other shipping companies launched itself into air cargo business. This was the first step in NYK’s move towards establishing integrated transport systems combining land, sea and air operations becoming a total logistics carrier.


Continued growth and diversification with regional offices across the globe, with consistent focus on Corporate Social Responsibility, pioneering environmental measures, maritime institutes, and commitment to the Corporate Group Values ensured that today Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha is one of the world's leading transportation companies. At the end of March 2013, the NYK Group was operating 846 major ocean vessels, as well as fleets of planes, trains, and trucks. The company's shipping fleet includes 389 bulk carriers, 126 containerships (including semi-containerships), 120 car carriers, 82 tankers, 51 wood-chip carriers, 28 LNG carriers, 18 heavy-load carriers / conventional ships, three cruise ships, and 29 other ships. NYK's revenue in fiscal 2012 was about $23 billion, and as a group NYK employs about 55,000 people worldwide. NYK is based in Tokyo and has regional headquarters in London, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, and Sao Paulo.

Short Cuts