The history of NYK has paralleled that of Japan, a maritime nation, ever since the company's founding in 1885.
Let's look back on NYK's 130-plus years, from 1885 to the present.


Born of the merger of Mitsubishi Mail Steamship Company and Kyodo Unyu Kaisha, NYK resultantly expanded its business from the seas of Asia to the oceans of the world under a nibikiflag featuring two thick red lines on a white background to symbolize the union of the two companies from which NYK arose.

Nibiki flag
Former NYK building, Tokyo Japan

Mitsubishi Mail Steamship Company and Kyodo Unyu Kaisha merged on September 29 to form Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK); new company inaugurated operations on October 1 with a fleet of 58 steamships.

1886 Liner service began between Nagasaki, Japan, and Tianjin, China.
1893 Japan's first long-distance liner service began on Bombay route.
Tosa Maru

London branch opened.
Liner service began on European, Seattle, and Australian routes.

1911 Calcutta liner service began.
Tokushima Maru

Tokushima Maru became the first Japanese ship to pass through the newly completed Panama Canal.

1916 Liner service to New York via Panama Canal began.
1917 Liner service to east coast of South America began.
1920 New York branch opened.
Nagasaki Maru

Departure of Nagasaki Maru inaugurated Japan-China (Nagasaki-Shanghai) Rapid Express Service.

Tatsuta Maru at San Francisco

Acquired Dai-ni Toyo Kisen Kaisha, gaining routes to San Francisco and the west coast of South America.

The NYK funnel mark

Distinctive twin red stripes on white background became official funnel mark for NYK vessels.

1939 Acquired Kinkai Yusen Kaisha Ltd.
1942 Three NYK vessels - Asama Maru, Tatsuta Maru, and Kamakura Maru - provided transport for exchange of U.S., British, and Japanese diplomats.

During World War Ⅱ, NYK tragically lost its two key assets - ships and crew. Following the war and throughout a period of high economic growth, the company embarked on the development and use of specialized carriers to support Japan's economic growth.

1945 Only 37 vessels, totaling 155,469 gross tons, remained after World War ll.
(185 vessels totaling 1,131,424 gross tons lost in the war)
Akagi Maru at New York

Main liner services resumed.

Tamba Maru

Group's first crude oil tanker, Tamba Maru, launched.

1960 Group's first iron ore tanker, Tobata Maru, launched.
Hikawa Maru

Cargo-passenger ship, Hikawa Maru, moored in the port of Yokohama, where it is opened to the public.

1962 World's first large LPG carrier, Bridgestone Maru, launched.
Kure Maru

NYK and Mitsubishi Shipping Co. Ltd. merged to form a newly enlarged NYK Group.
World's first wood-chip carrier, Kure Maru, launched.

Hakone Maru

Hakone Maru, Japan's first fully containerized ship, began service on new California route.

1969 Near seas and domestic coastal services transferred to Kinkai Yusen Kaisha Ltd.
Container service to Australia began.
Group's first car/bulk carrier, Toyota Maru No. 5, launched.
NYK Line (Hong Kong) Ltd. and NYK (Thailand) Co. Ltd. established.
Jintsu Maru

Container service to the west coast of North America began.
Group's first car carrier, Jintsu Maru, launched.

1971 Container service to Europe began.
1972 Container service to the east coast of North America began.
Oi Terminal

Group's first container terminal operations commenced at Oi in the port of Tokyo.

1978 Nippon Cargo Airlines Co. Ltd. (NCA) established.
1979 Container service to Persian Gulf began.
1980 Australia-Malaysia-Persian Gulf container service began.
1981 Container service to the west coast of South America began.
Container service to South Africa began.
Banshu Maru

NYK Line (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. established.
LNG shipments from Indonesia to Japan began.


The yen appreciation stemming from the Plaza Accord in 1985 had a major impact on the cost structure of shipping companies. We responded by shifting to a multinational mix of our seafaring workforce and beginning a structural transformation, to become a comprehensive global-logistics enterprise centered on our marine transportation business.

1986 Group's first long-term management vision, "NYK 21" announced.
1988 NYK Line (North America) Inc. established.
Hong Kong Logistics Center completed.
1989 NYK Line (Europe) Ltd., NYK Bulkship (USA) Inc., and NYK Bulkship (Europe) Ltd. established.
Logistics centers established in Bangkok, Los Angeles, and Sydney.
1990 Luxury cruise ship Crystal Harmony began service as Group reenters cruise business.
YTI Container Terminal in Los Angeles, U.S.

Acquired Nippon Liner System Co. Ltd.
Los Angeles and Oakland container terminals opened.
Laem Chabang (Thailand) Container Terminal opened.
Asuka, Japan's largest luxury cruise ship, began service.

1992 Kaohsiung (Taiwan) Container Terminal opened.
Takamine Maru

First Japan-registered double-hull tanker, Takamine Maru, launched.

1994 NYK Line (Deutschland) GmbH, NYK Line (Benelux) B.V., and NYK Line (Sverige) AB established.
1995 NYK Line (China) Co. Ltd. established.
LNG Tanker AL JASRA Qatar Trade

New container services offered through the Grand Alliance commenced on the North America - European routes.
LNG shipments from Qatar to Japan began.

1997 Diamond Grace tanker accident occured in Tokyo Bay.
1998 Acquired Showa Line Co. Ltd.
Introduced NAV9000, a rigorous self-imposed safety management system.
1999 Liner Division and Car Carrier Division obtained ISO 9002 certification.
2000 "NYK21 New Millennium Declaration," establishing medium- to long-term performance targets, announced.
2001 Hinode Kisen Co. Ltd. became a wholly owned subsidiary of NYK and assumed responsibility for NYK's conventional ship business.
NYK Shipmanagement Pte. Ltd. established in Singapore.
2002 NYK (including chartered fleet) obtained ISO14001 certification, world's first for a shipping company.
NYK Maritime Museum
Dalian Port RORO terminal

NYK 21 "Forward 120," the company's medium- to long-term group management vision, announced.
NYK Maritime Museum opened in the renovated Yokohama Yusen Building.
NYK Logistics (Europe) Ltd. and NYK Logistics (Asia) Pte Ltd. established.
Group invested in Dalian Port RORO terminal.

2004 All logistics subsidiaries rebranded as "NYK Logistics."
MTI (Monohakobi Technology Institute) established for the development of new technology.
Cargo aircraft of Nippon Cargo Airlines Co. Ltd.

New medium-term management plan, "New Horizon 2007," announced.
Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA) became a consolidated subsidiary of NYK.
Endorsed and declared the support for the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC).
Luxury cruise ship Asuka II launched.

NYK-TDG Maritime Academy

NYK-TDG Maritime Academy opened in the Philippines.
NYK Group Values (The 3 I's - integrity, innovation, and intensity) announced.

2008 "New Horizon 2010," the company's new medium-term management plan, announced.

Exploratory design for NYK Super Eco Ship 2030 released.
Group participated in project for ultra-deepwater drillship chartered by Petrobras.


Group entered offshore shuttle tanker business by purchasing interest in Knutsen Offshore Tankers AS.
Yusen Logistics established to integrate the NYK Group's logistics.


New medium-term management plan, "More Than Shipping 2013," announced.
Group participated in FPSO business (ultra-deep pre-salt layer off Brazil).

2012 NYK's Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) became the first in the world to be certified by ClassNK.
Members of the Grand Alliance and The New World Alliance created the G6 Alliance and cooperate to form new Asia-Europe container services.
Group jointly participated in Wheatstone LNG project in Australia.
2013 NYK-Hinode Line Ltd. and NYK Global Bulk Corporation merged to form NYK Bulk & Projects Carriers Ltd.
2014 New medium-term management plan, "More than Shipping 2018," announced.

Japan's first LNG-fueled tugboat, Sakigake, launched.

2016 World's first LNG-fueled pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) delivered.

The new integrated container shipping company (Ocean Network Express Pte. Ltd.) established.
Full acquisition of Yusen Logistics Co., Ltd.
ENGIE Zeebrugge, the world's first LNG bunkering vessel, launched.

2018 New medium-term management plan, "Staying Ahead 2022 with Digitalization and Green," announced.
The new integrated container shipping company (ONE) started operation.
Exploratory design for NYK SUPER ECO SHIP 2050 released.
2019 World's first Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships trial conducted.

Establishment of framework for ESG management.
MarCoPay Inc. realizes world's first onboard use of digital currency.
Japan's first LNG-fueled pure car and truck carrier(PCTC)delivered.

2021 NYK Group ESG Story issued.
First NYK-TDG Maritime Academy graduate attains rank of NYK captain.
Target of net-zero emissions by 2050 for oceangoing businesses announced.
2022 Akita branch opened.

New medium-term management plan,"Sail Green, Drive Transformations 2026 - A Passion for Planetary Wellbeing," announced.
World's First LNG-fueled Panamax delivered.