Matson measures up in Aloha State

The new vessel, named Kaimana Hila, is the sister ship to Daniel K. Inouye, which was christened in June and went into service in November of 2018. “Kaimana Hila” is a Hawaiian transliteration for “Diamond Head,” the name of Hawaii's iconic landmark crater near Waikiki Beach.

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As we have been documenting of late, the ocean carrier industry remains in the throes of a seemingly unending cycle of rate erosion, vacant sailings and dysfunctional relationships with shippers and other stakeholders.  But there have been exceptions to this sorry state of affairs, with one outstanding example on the Pacific Rim. 

Rising above this miasma is Matson, Inc., a leading U.S. carrier in the Pacific, which recently christened the second of two Aloha Class containerships representing the largest vessels to have been built in the United States. 

The new vessel, named Kaimana Hila, is the sister ship to Daniel K. Inouye, which was christened in June and went into service in November of 2018. “Kaimana Hila” is a Hawaiian transliteration for “Diamond Head,” the name of Hawaii's iconic landmark crater near Waikiki Beach.

The two ships were built for Honolulu-based Matson by Philly Shipyard, Inc. (PSI), the wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary of Philly Shipyard ASA, and comes at a time when the Jones Act is again being threatened by misguided politicians who feel that U.S.-flag shipping is a vestige of the past that should be scrapped.  

Countering that sentiment is Steinar Nerbovik, Philly Shipyard President and CEO, who says that the construction of the Kaimana Hila, and its earlier sister ship, has provided good skilled work for nearly 1,500 people at Philly Shipyard over the last three years. 

“We are immensely proud to provide another quality and safe vessel that Matson can be proud of for years to come,” he adds. 

Weighing in at over 51,400 metric tons, the 850-foot long and 3,600 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) capacity Kaimana Hila and Daniel K. Inouye are also Matson's fastest vessels, with a top speed of nearly 24 knots, helping ensure on-time deliveries in Hawaii from Matson's three West Coast terminals in Seattle, Oakland and Long Beach. 

In addition, both Aloha Class vessels incorporate the latest environmentally friendly technology, including dual fuel engines that can be adapted to use liquefied natural gas (LNG), double hull fuel tanks, fresh water ballast systems and a more fuel-efficient hull design. 

This comes at a time when ocean carriers in other trade lanes are mired in debt while trying to adhere to stringent new energy standards soon to be imposed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). 

Furthermore, with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) resisting automation at other terminals, Matson may enjoy a favored status with dockworkers thanks to the fact that it owns a 35% interest in SSA Terminals, LLC (SSAT), the leading U.S. West Coast terminal operator. 

Daniel Smith, a Principal, The Tioga Group, Inc., further notes that  Matson has not needed automation to date, and probably doesn’t for the near future, as it provides terminal and stevedoring services to carriers at seven key facilities. 

“Their terminals operations are simpler and self-contained,” he adds, “and do not have truck dwell time issues that others must face.”

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [ protected]

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