Matson Navigation Adds New Ship To Its Fleet

O‘AHU — Matson Navigation Company’s new 712-foot containership, the MV Manukai, arrived on Tuesday in Honolulu on its inaugural voyage.

Matson Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jim Andrasick talked with various members of the media at the 28th annual Hawaii Media Meeting at the inauguration of the new ship.

Several items were on the agenda although the newest vessel in the Matson fleet was the main topic of concern.

“The MV Manukai’s inaugural voyage symbolizes Matson Navigation’s commitment to a new generation of U.S.-built vessels,” said Hawaii Senator Dan Inouye. “A healthy, U.S.-flag domestic fleet is important to our nation’s economic well-being and our defense capabilities. Currently, Jones Act vessels, like the MV Manukai, provide nearly 90 percent of the jobs available to American mariners.

“It also ensures that we have high quality, reliable scheduled service not only to Honolulu, but also to Hilo and Nawiliwili. They operate their fleet to ensure that no matter where you live, you will be able to get your goods at a steady rate.”

The MV Manukai is the first new containership built for Hawai‘i in the 21st century and is the first new build to enter the Matson fleet since the MV R. J. Pfeiffer in 1992.

The ship has the capacity to carry 2,600 containers and will be deployed in Matson’s Hawai‘i service between Long Beach and Honolulu.

It is the first of two new Matson containerships being built at Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard, Inc. (KPSI) at a cost of $110 million each.

“Matson’s ongoing investment in vessels, terminals, technology and equipment are essential in ensuring world-class, ocean-carrier services for Hawai‘i,” said Inouye.

Sometime in mid-2004, Matson’s second newest investment, the MV Maunawili will be ready for use.

“The new vessels will ensure that Matson continues its objective of providing customers with a frequent, reliable and on-time ocean transportation service,” said Andrasick.

The MV Manukai will be equipped to handle both 40 and 45-foot, and even 53-foot, containers both refrigerated and dry.

According to Andrasick, both vessels are similar in size and speed to Matson’s flagship, the MV R.J. Pfeiffer, named after the former CEO of the company who died on Sept. 26 after a battle with cancer.

“The arrival of the Manukai is good news for Hawai‘i,” said U.S. Congressman Neil Abercrombie (1st District-Hawaii). “It will help ensure that our island economy, which depends so heavily on ocean transportation, will be served by a new generation of U.S.-owned, U.S.-crewed and U.S.-built vessels.”

In addition to the MV Manukai and future MV Maunawilil, Andrasick also discussed a new service geared at making auto transportation more efficient.

The S.S. Great Land was added earlier this week as a measure to help make ro-ro service better.

The S.S. Great Land has the capacity to handle 950 automobiles and 100 containers on chassis. The vessel will depart from Oakland every other week and call at both Honolulu and Kahului.

“The service will complement Matson’s existing ro-ro service to the Neighbor islands, which includes the dedicated ro-ro vessel Waialeale,” said Andrasick.

In addition to the new S.S. Great Land, Matson is also modifying its existing S.S. Lurline, by adding a two-tier garage on the ship. The additional capacity will allow the Lurline to handle 700 automobiles.

Andrasick also delved into new auto tracking technology that will be introduced to allow customers to better track shipment management information.

Business Editor Barry Graham can be reached at 245-3681 Ext. 251 or mailto:bgraham@pulitzer.net

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