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Osaka Line

History

The correct name for this Japanese company is Osaka Shosen Kaisha. It was founded in 1884 by a combination of 55 Osaka ship owners, who between them owned 93 small coastal vessels operating in western Japan. In 1890 OSK inaugurated services to Korea and in 1894 the Japanese Government of Formosa (present day Taiwan) provided a subsidy for OSK to operate an Osaka-Formosa liner service. This subsidy was increased in 1898 when the service was extended from Formosa to the Yangtze River.

From 1908 OSK opened ocean-going services to Hong Kong, North West USA and Bombay. OSK made very substantial profits during WW1 enabling it to extend its Bombay route to Marseilles in 1918 and to open new services to San Francisco, Australia, and South America. It began a New York service in 1920 but this initially operated at a loss. In 1930 OSK made a considerable investment in five new high-speed motor ships for the New York service. This express service transformed raw-silk transportation from Asia to America, with raw silk being carried by sea all the way to New York, instead of being transhipped to rail on the West Coast. OSK's share of cargo shipped on this route grew, and its business performance improved in spite of the unfavourable world economic conditions.

In 1898 Tokugoro Nakahashi became the company's fourth president. He made a great effort to rationalize the internal organization of OSK, to penetrate the Chinese market, and also to inaugurate the first OSK ocean route, a Hong Kong to Tacoma, Washington service, in 1908. In 1911 OSK started a Kobe to Bombay service. The route was under the monopoly of the Far Eastern Freight Conference (FEFC) of which Nippon Yusen K.K. (NYK) was the only Japanese member. OSK fought against the FEFC and was admitted to the conference in 1913. In 1918 the company opened a Bombay to Marseilles route and was admitted to full membership of the Far Eastern Freight Conference (FEFC). Meanwhile, it opened a San Francisco route, an Australia route, and a South America route, offering a worldwide liner service. It began a New York service in 1920 but operated at a deficit. In 1930 OSK made a huge investment in five new high-speed motor ships in order to start a New York express service. This service entirely transformed raw-silk transportation from Asia to America; raw silk began to be carried by water all the way to New York instead of going by land. OSK's share of cargo shipped on this route grew, and its business performance improved in spite of unfavourable business conditions.

During the Great Depression, OSK and NYK made a cooperative agreement in 1931 whereby OSK abolished its Puget Sound route, which had called at Tacoma and Seattle, and in turn acquired a monopoly on the South American east coast route. OSK quickly recovered from the deficits of 1930 and 1931, and resumed paying dividends in 1932. The company's profits peaked in 1941, when OSK was capitalized at ¥87 million and had 112 vessels aggregating 557,126 grt.

Osaka Shosen Kaisha continued to add routes until the outbreak of WW2. By the end of it the company had lost most of its ships.

International trade restarted in the 1950s and the company merged with a number of others to form Mitsui O.S.K. Line in 1964. This company is successfully operating ferry services, container ships, tankers, gas carriers and is also engaged in a growing trade in ship demolition.

Ships

Vessel Type Launched/Completed Tonnage DWT Builder
Alaska Maru No Info 1919?
Altai Maru No Info 1918?
Africa Maru No Info
America Maru No Info 1950?
Andes Maru No Info 1951?
Arabia Maru No Info
Argentina Maru No Info 1939?
Argentina Maru Cargo / Passenger 495,001 G. 1958. Yard No: 898 Gross: 10864 Net: 6404 10480 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Reorganised Ltd. Kobe
Argun Maru No Info 1920?
Arizona Maru No Info
Atlas Maru No Info 1921?
Atlas Maru No Info 1951?
Brazil Maru Cargo 440,943 G. 10/07/1954. Gross: 10100 Net: 5782 9725 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Reorganised Ltd. Kobe
Brisbane Maru No Info 1930?
Buenos Aires Maru No Info 1929??
Buenos Aires Maru No Info 1956?
Canada Maru No Info 1911?
Canberra Maru No Info 1936?
Celebes Maru No Info 1917?
Chicago Maru No Info 1910??
Daiiku Maru No Info 1944?
Ganges Maru No Info 1938?
Hamburg Maru No Info 1957?
Hawaii Maru No Info 1915?
Hawaii Maru No Info 1952?
Hokoko Maru No Info 1940?
Honolulu Maru No Info 1920?
Honolulu Maru No Info 1958?
Hudson Maru No Info 1960?
La Plata Maru No Info 1926?
La Plata Maru Cargo 1955. Yard No: 862 Gross: 8721 Net: 5037 11316 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Reorganised Ltd. Kobe
London Maru No Info 1922?
London Maru Cargo / Passenger 527,308 G. 1953. Yard No: 853 Gross: 8137 Net: 4667 10649 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Reorganised Ltd. Kobe
Madras Maru No Info 1919?
Melbourne Maru No Info 1930?
Melbourne Maru No Info 1956?
Meisei Maru No Info 1961?
Mexico Maru No Info 1910?
Montevideo Maru No Info 1926?
Montevideo Maru No Info 1956?
Osaka Maru Cargo 412,638 G. 1949 Gross: 6550 Net: 3659 Mitsubishi Jukogyo, Kobe
Panama Maru Cargo 622,033 G. 1951. Yard No: 844 Gross: 9316 Net: 5449 11190 Naka Nisson Jukogyo,Kobe
Paris Maru No Info 1921?
Rio De Janeiro Maru No Info 1930
Saga Maru Cargo 657,049 G. May 1959. Yard No: 1527 Gross: 9439 Net: 5318 17620 Mitsubishi Zosen, Nagasaki, Japan
Santos Maru No Info 1952?
Seia Maru No Info 1939?
Shunko Maru No Info 1919?
Suez Maru Cargo 526,097 G. Feb 1953. Yard No: 827 Gross: 8160 Net: 4673 10881 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Reorganised Ltd. Kobe
Sydney Maru No Info 1929?
Sydney Maru Cargo 352,918 G. 1949 Yard No: 1407 Gross: 4790 Net: 2812 7166 Mitsubishi Jukogyo, K. K. Nagasaki
Toa Maru No Info 1939?
Tokyo Maru No Info 1936?


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