Hawaii’s largest interisland cargo service provider recently invested tens of millions of dollars in four new tugs — the first to be delivered to the state in 2018 and the fourth by 2019.
The $80 million investment by Young Brothers, Limited, means improved shipping service and efficiency on Kauai and on the neighbor islands.
“Our investment in these new tugs will directly support and further our commitment to frequent, reliable, affordable and universal service for decades into the future,” said Young Brothers President Glenn Hong.
Young Brothers said the new tugs will enhance the shipping company’s cargo service by lowering maintenance work, allowing less down time, improving tow speeds, increasing operating efficiency and lowering environmental impacts.
The first tug will be delivered sometime around the first quarter of 2018, while the fourth will be delivered by the first quarter of 2019.
Young Brothers contracted Conrad Shipyard, a Louisiana-based company, to build the Damen designed vessels, which will be powered by General Electric engines.
“The new contract is a tribute to the extraordinary skills and coordination of the parties as well as our joint commitment to quality, craftsmanship and developing a vessel suited to the needs and demands of the Hawaii service,” said Johnny Conrad, Conrad Shipyard president and CEO.
The vessels are 6,000 horsepower each and are 123 feet by 36.5 feet. They are designed to match the Young Brothers’ fleet of seven barges — which has a carrying capacity range of 5,600 tons to 11,700 tons.
The new tugs will join the company’s fleet of five vessels. The horsepower on the shipping company’s existing tugs range from 3,000 to 4,1000 horsepower.
These new American-built tugs will be known as the Kapena class, or captain class, will be ported on neighbor islands ports, and have a 35-year life expectancy.
Young Brothers measures its shipping cargo in units called “container/platform equivalents,” which allow a comparison of cargo volumes across different sizes of containers and other cargo types.
For the first three months of 2016, Kauai experienced 1 percent gains of cargo volume, which totaled 6,483 CPEs compared to 6,419 CPEs in 2015.
Outgoing agriculture CPEs on Kauai are down 10.5 percent for the first three quarters this year compared the first three quarters of 2015.
Young Brothers has 360 employees across the state, including 23 on Kauai.
The water carrier provides 12 weekly port calls from Honolulu to Hilo, Kawaihae, Kahului, Kaumalapau, Kaunakakai and Nawiliwili on Kauai.