More Ships, More Service
Hawai‘i’s fleets are expanding — and so are its harbor facilities

Pasha Hawaii’s new MV Janet Marie, an all-LNG containership, began Hawai‘i service on Aug. 2.     PHOTO COURTESY PASHA HAWAII

Dre Kalili

Matson Inc. and Pasha Hawaii, the state’s largest interstate ocean carriers, were cleared by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission on Aug. 9 and 10 to deliver disaster relief to Maui. On Aug. 11, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) announced the temporary waiver of some user fees for “certain cargoes destined for Kahului Harbor to reduce transportation costs for necessities,” says HDOT Harbors Division Deputy Director Dre Kalili.

“HDOT has coordinated with its harbor users to optimize efficient operations to ensure critical cargo including food, water, generators and other equipment for humanitarian relief and emergency response are delivered to Kahului Harbor,” Kalili says.

The joint effort underscores the ongoing coordination between Hawaii’s carriers and HDOT as carriers expand their operations and HDOT optimizes its transportation facilities, thereby providing the means to deliver critical cargo to Maui and the state as whole.

Daniel K. Inouye, Matson’s fastest containership, approaches Honolulu Harbor. The vessel’s engine is currently being converted to run primarily on liquified natural gas.     PHOTO PHOTOS COURTESY MATSON INC.


As part of a global push to sharply reduce carbon emissions by 2030, Matson is converting the Daniel K. Inouye, its fastest Aloha Class containership, to operate primarily on liquified natural gas (LNG).

The ship will also have “flexibility to use low-sulfur marine fuel or other alternative marine fuels, such as biofuels, when they become more available,” says Len Isotoff, Matson senior vice president, Pacific.

Matson’s Maunalei containership is currently servicing the carrier’s Hawaii/China/Long Beach Express (CLX) route, which the Daniel K. Inouye will resume when conversion is complete, possibly by the end of the year.

A third tank of liquified natural gas is installed on the Daniel K. Inouye.     PHOTO COURTESY MATSON INC.

Three new Matson Aloha Class containerships, the largest containerships ever built in America, are also in progress at Philly Shipyard in Pennsylvania. Like the Daniel K. Inouye, all have LNG-capable, dual-fuel engines. The first vessel is scheduled for Hawai‘i delivery in the fourth quarter of 2026.

Matson currently has nine containerships in constant rotation that transport cargo from the Asia-Pacific and the mainland. The ships call on Sand Island three times a week.


Pasha Hawaii employees offload cargo in Honolulu.     PHOTO COURTESY PASHA HAWAII


The MV Janet Marie, Pasha Hawaii’s new all-LNG powered containership, made her maiden voyage to Honolulu Harbor on Aug. 2. The ‘Ohana Class vessel is a sister ship to the MV George III, Pasha Hawaii’s first all-LNG containership that began service between Hawai‘i and the continental U.S. last year. According to Pasha Hawaii, both ships surpass 2030 emission targets.

The MV Janet Marie and MV George III will alternate weekly sailings as part of Pasha Hawaii’s fixed-day direct vessel calls along its California/Hawaii Express route. The ships call at Oakland, Long Beach and Honolulu, with one vessel arriving in Honolulu on Wednesdays as its sister ship arrives in Oakland.


George W. Pasha IV

“[These] new ‘Ohana Class vessels were specifically designed for the Hawai‘i market, increasing weekly capacity for high-demand dry 45-foot and refrigerated 40-foot equipment,” says George W. Pasha IV, The Pasha Group president and CEO. “Pasha Hawaii operates five vessels in active service with one vessel in reserve.”

Hawaii Stevedores Inc., an independent operating subsidiary of Pasha, expects to begin operations at the new KCT in late 2024. As Building Industry Hawaii first reported in August, the upgraded terminal will feature electrified ship-to-shore cranes, which are larger and faster than current cranes — and there will be more of them.

The state-of-the-art facility will also feature advanced technology for improved gate flow, more wheeled capacity for quicker truck turn times, adjacent barge service for Neighbor Island connections, newer cargo handling equipment and a renewable energy-powered microgrid.


An Aloha Marine Lines barge nears O‘ahu.     PHOTO COURTESY ALOHA MARINE LINES

Bret Harper


Part of Lynden’s global network of transportation and logistics companies, Aloha Marine Lines provides bi-weekly barge service between the Pacific Northwest and Honolulu, and coordinates inter-island services to Kaua‘i, Maui, Hawai‘i island, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i.

“In 2024 we will be launching a new [Makani Class] barge, the Makani Loa,” says Bret Harper, Aloha Marine Lines

vice president of sales. “The Makani Loa is specifically built for our regular bi-weekly service between Seattle and Honolulu, [and] will be a sister barge to our Kamakani and Namakani barges, which are also recent additions to our fleet and are among the fastest and most fuel-efficient barge designs built.

“Purchased in 2020, the Kamakani and Namakani increased our cargo capacity to Hawai‘i by 35 percent.”

AML often ships lumber and plywood products, roofing materials, pipe, wallboard, rebar and structural steel, as well as machinery, office trailers, tower cranes and other over-dimensional freight used in construction projects, Harper says.

AML’s 102-inch-wide, 53-foot-long containers and platforms provide extra width and height for increased cubic capacity, and “have proven very popular on our Seattle-to-Hawai‘i route,” he says. AML’s decking systems also allow container freight to be stacked higher without crushing bottom pallets.

At Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor, AML’s terminal is right next to Kapolei Harborside.

“Our convenient location … provides an ideal base from which we can service our customers throughout O‘ahu and the neighboring islands,” Harper says. “We look forward to serving the freight needs for this new development.”

Chris Martin


Young Brothers operates an interisland fleet of barges and tugs from its terminal occupying Honolulu Harbor’s Piers 39 and 40.

“We’ve grown our fleet by adding two new towing tugs — Mount Baker and Mount Drum,” says Chris Martin, Young Brothers LLC vice president of operations. “We’re installing a specialized mooring system at [Lāna‘i’s] Port of Kaumalapau, which will increase the reliability of deliveries by keeping the barge safely against the dock to discharge and load cargo despite inclement weather that regularly plagues this area.

“Finally, we are investing $25 million to build two new barges — one will be dedicated to serving Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i — that we expect will join our fleet in late 2024.”

Martin notes that Young Brothers has three weekly sailings between Honolulu and Kahului.

“When Maui moves into the rebuilding phase,” he says, “we anticipate there will be an increase in demand for shipping construction supplies. And we stand ready to meet that demand.”

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