OAKLAND, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 17, 2004--Matson Navigation Company, Inc. (Matson) announced today that it has launched a new "Paniolo Express," providing direct eastbound ro-ro service from the Big Island of Hawaii and Maui to the West Coast. The new service will offer Hawaii's cattle industry a number of service enhancements, with the key benefit the reduction of transit time from the Neighbor Island ports of Kahului and Hilo to Long Beach and Oakland. Under the current service, cattle are shipped from the Neighbor Islands to Honolulu on barges and then transshipped on Matson's long haul vessels, which sail between Honolulu and the West Coast; by eliminating this step, transit time will be reduced from eight to five days. The new service may also provide some benefits for Hawaii agricultural products, such as nursery stock.
The initial service will include direct calls from the Big Island to Long Beach and from Maui to Oakland. Plans are underway to expand the service to include directs calls from the Big Island to Oakland later this summer.
"Matson remains committed to meeting all of Hawaii's ocean transportation needs, both westbound and eastbound," said Dave Hoppes, vice president, ocean services. "We have worked closely with Hawaii's cattle industry in addressing their particular service issues and have developed the 'Paniolo Express' in a direct response to these discussions. In addition to adjusting our vessel schedule to include direct service to the West Coast from Maui and the Big Island, we are in the process of developing newly designed cowtainers that will improve the quality of cattle carriage capabilities while concurrently reducing the cost of the equipment purchases."
With the new "Paniolo Express," Matson's ro-ro vessels, SSs Matsonia and Lurline will make Neighbor Island port calls as part of their eastbound return voyage to the West Coast. Because of the lower volume moving in Matson's eastbound Hawaii service, the ro-ro ships will have ample capacity to meet the cattle industry's needs throughout the year, including during peak periods. The service will only be able to accommodate ro-ro cargo, in that the Neighbor Island ports have no gantry cranes for container operations. Neighbor Island container freight will continue to move on Matson's two Neighbor Island container barges, which are equipped with their own gantry cranes. Later this summer, the S.S. Great Land will be added to the service, with direct calls from Hilo to Oakland.
The newly designed cowtainers, which will complement the enhanced service, will be constructed in the coming months. Matson is building the prototype for the industry's review.
"As the state's leading ocean carrier, Matson will continue to make efforts to provide all of Hawaii with quality ocean transportation services," said Hoppes. "We have longstanding relationships with the state's agricultural industry and provide these customers with an eastbound service that offers frequency and value. Our 'Paniolo Express' underscores our interest in working with Hawaii's industries in tailoring our service to meet unique requirements."
Matson provides ocean transportation and logistics services in U.S. domestic markets. Matson is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. (Nasdaq:ALEX).
Matson Navigation Company, Inc.
Jeff Hull, 510-628-4534 (Public Relations)
SOURCE: Matson Navigation Company, Inc.