The Japanese sea shipping and terminal operating company, going under the full name of Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
K Line is the brainchild of Kojiro Matsukata, President of Kawasaki Dockyard (and a big art collector - the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo's Ueno Park was established around his private collection), who, to fill the shipbuilding order book, came up with a strikingly obvious idea of becoming a shipowner himself.
His initial plan was to construct a 40-50 ship-big fleet, serving Japan's trade with the Americas, Africa, the Med., and - yes, yes! - the Baltic Sea too!
WW2 left K Line badly bruised, out of 68 ships only 12 survived. Gradually, though, the company recovered. Among many other developments, the car carrier division started operating, having from the 1970 at its disposal Toyota Maru No. 10, Japan's first ship specifically designed to transport vehicles, built in response to the increase in automobile exports.
In 1971, it launched the International Transportation Service, a container terminal in the US Port of Long Beach (remember the times, when everyone feared the Japanese will take over the world?).
Last year, in April, the container shipping and terminal operating activities of K Line, NYK, and MOL (excl. those based in Japan) officially started to trade under the Ocean Network Express (ONE) brand, which was the Japanese reaction to the on-going crisis rolling through the industry.