Tractors mark Matson’s commitment to Kaua‘i

NAWILIWILI — Dedicating four new tractors went deeper than sprinkling water and offering prayers Thursday.

The Rev. Kauilani Kahalekai of the Church of Universal Light explained that the operators’ spirit needed to be released from the vehicles that were being replaced by the new tractors.

“We all work together, and we need to get along,” Kahalekai told the gathering of Matson Navigation employees and representatives of agencies doing business at the Nawiliwili Harbor.

To this end, the dedication ceremony involved thanking the old retiring vehicles while getting acquainted with the new vehicles and expressing gratitude at their presence.

Dewayne Kong of Matson Navigation said that three of the retiring tractors will be shipped to the Maui yard where a new crane system — a system that needs Hustler vehicles to move containers around the harbor — is under construction.

“They’re called Hustlers because they move around the yard a lot,” Kong said. “In reality, the Hustler is similar to the big rig tractors that pull the containers out on the highway. The big difference is in the gearing. The Hustler is not made for speed. It’s made to pull.”

The last Hustler will remain at Nawiliwili Harbor as a backup unit.

As part of the dedication service, Kahalekai asked the Matson employees, one of whom was celebrating 55 years of employment with the shipping company, to clear the air of personal differences and issues.

She also asked the Matson employees to mingle with its harbor “partners” and offer them thanks for their support.

Following the mahalo and dedication ceremony, Kong carried the bowl of water to the harbor’s edge and poured it into the harbor to symbolize the melding of spirit from those who work there.

“This marks a new start for Matson,” Kahalekai said. “Only with a clean mind can you offer the residents and visitors of Kaua‘i the best you can do.”

This commitment was further carried out by the lettering decorating a post-ceremony cake.

Imua Matson.

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