Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company

Shipping company

1840 - following the award of the Egyptian mail run from the UK, the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company was renamed to include the word 'Oriental'. On December 31, the company was incorporated by Royal Charter. 1842 - the mail contracts extended to India. 1845 - the contracts extended further east to Ceylon, Penang, Singapore and Hong Kong. 1850 - began building Keppel's Wharf in Singapore. 1852 - Keppel's Wharf inaugurated. 1859 - became the first company to carry by steamer tea from China to the UK. 1866 - the company had a fleet of 53 ships thoughout the world. 1870 - the Nubia became the first P&O ship to transit the new Suez Canal. 1896 - the company launched its first purpose-built cargo ship, the Candia. 1904 - the company first advertised a programme of 'pleasure cruises', refitting the passenger liner Rome, renaming her Vectis. 1910 - a period of rapid expansion started with the purchase of the Blue Anchor Line. 1914-1918 - the First World War saw many of the company's ships requisitioned for the war effort ending in the loss of 83 ships and 989 lives. 1920 - acquired the General Steam Navigation Company. 1923 - acquired the Strick Line making them the largest shipping company in the world. 1932 - the first cruise from Australia. 1939-1945 - during the Second World War the company's ships were requisitioned and employed as armed merchant cruisers, hospital ships and general carriers. 1958 - following the acquisition of a cold storage facility in Australia, the company launched its first tankship in order to ship frozen meat. 1974 - as passenger jets replaced liners for international travel, the company diversified, purchasing Bovis Homes Group. 1982 - the Canberra was requisitioned during the Falklands War. 2000 - the cruising side of the company was demerged into P&O Princess Cruises. 2003 - P&O Princess Cruises was acquired by Carnival Corporation. 2006 - the company was acquired by DP World.