A ship of this type was confiscated by the crew of the USS Enterprise during the Mudd Incident of January 2259. A month later, this ship was used by a landing party led by Captain James T. Kirk, on a mission to capture John Harrison in the Ketha Province, on Qo'noS. As such, the craft was chased through an abandoned industrial area by a D4-class Klingon fighter and cornered by the opposing ship, joined by two other Klingon vessels of the same configuration, before the trading ship landed on the planet's surface, surrounded. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Development of the K'normian trading ship began with the realization that a non-Federation craft was required to fill a place in the storyline of Star Trek Into Darkness. Remarked co-writer Alex Kurtzman, "We knew that for the mission that Kirk wants to go on to work, it couldn't be a Federation ship."  Editors Mary Jo Markey and Maryann Brandon described the ship as an homage to Mudd's ship in Star Trek: The Original Series. (Star Trek Into Darkness iTunes enhanced commentary) A concept illustration of the K'normian trading ship can be viewed here.
The production crew which worked on Star Trek Into Darkness constructed an interior and doorway of the K'normian trading ship. Exterior shots of the vehicle in the Enterprise hangar bay were generated by Industrial Light & Magic, whereas CGI views of the craft in the atmosphere of Kronos and on the planet's surface were rendered by Pixomondo. (Cinefex, No. 134, p. 84) Pixomondo Visual Effects Supervisor Ben Grossmann thought of the ship as basically "a little sparrow trying to take advantage of its size and move through little cracks and nooks and crannies and be a little more nimble [than the pursuing Klingon fighter]."