LIHU’E — Amfac Sugar Kaua’i trucks will begin moving cane from the Westside to
the Lihu’e mill along Kaumuali’i Highway next week.
The company, in a move
to save money, has closed the former Kekaha Sugar mill.
Former mill workers
were offered other positions in the company, and the decision to truck the cane
from the Westside to Lihu’e means more drivers are needed, creating the new
In fact, the closure of the mill created so many jobs for truck
drivers that the plantation couldn’t fill them all and will have to contract
with a local trucking company to help with the hauling, said Lyle Tabata,
manager of Amfac Sugar Kaua’i.
Schedules for times when the trucks will be
rolling down the highway depend on how harvesting operations progress, and
should become more clear within the next few weeks, he said.
matter, Tabata said the main Lihu’e generator, expected to come back on line
early next month after major repairs, will not be ready as expected.
coils to replace the worn ones were to leave Houston for Honolulu last night,
but are too large to fit onto any aircraft which can land at Lihu’e
So, they’ll have to be barged from Honolulu to Nawiliwili, he
A 1950s-era generator has been brought on line, and has reduced
by half the amount of power Amfac has had to buy from Kaua’i Electric.
four megawatt unit produces only 2,600 kilowatts of power, “but, nevertheless,
it makes up for 50 percent of what we have to buy,” Tabata said.
plantation as a result of its main generator being down was turned from a
supplier of surplus electricity to KE to a major purchaser of power from
The old generator being on line also means Amfac can resume burning
bagasse to generate steam to power the generator.
The recent rains have
slowed harvesting efforts from the former Lihu’e Plantation fields, so the
amounts of bagasse have been reduced as well.
“We were trying to be
community-minded, so we delayed harvesting Hanama’ulu (field) one, by the
traffic light over there (Ahukini Road at Kuhio Highway) until we get better
If they harvested that field during wet weather, there would be
lots of mud at that busy intersection. So they waited for drier weather, he