Aker cuts steel on two Jones Act containerships for Matson

The following is the text of a news release from Matson Inc.:

(PHILADELPHIA) — Matson Inc., a leading U.S. carrier in the Pacific, today announced the start of production on two new Aloha-class containerships designed specifically for Hawaii service, with greater capacity and state-of-the-art "green ship technology" features. After a small ceremony at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard in Pennsylvania, the cutting of steel plates began, initiating the construction work to build both ships.

In 2013, Matson subsidiary Matson Navigation Co. Inc. signed a contract with Aker Philadelphia Shipyard Inc. to build the two new ships for an aggregate price of $418 million. The new vessels are expected to be delivered in the third and fourth quarters of 2018. Matson also announced that the first of the two new ships will be named after the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, who was a longstanding supporter of the U.S. maritime industry and its role in supporting Hawaii's economy.

The 850-foot long, 3,600-TEU vessels will be Matson's largest ships and the largest Jones Act containerships ever constructed. They will also be faster, designed to operate at speeds in excess of 23 knots, helping ensure timely delivery of goods in Hawaii. Though bigger, the ships are also designed to accommodate future needs by being able to navigate safely into some of Hawaii's smaller ports.

The new vessels will incorporate a number of "green ship technology" features that will help protect the environment, including a more fuel-efficient hull design, dual-fuel engines that can be adapted to use liquefied natural gas (LNG), environmentally safe double-hull fuel tanks and freshwater ballast systems.

"These new ships are the future for Hawaii shipping and will bring a new level of efficiency and effectiveness to our service," said Matt Cox, president and CEO, Matson. "The substantial investment in new technology underscores Matson's long-term commitment to Hawaii and our desire to serve the islands in the best, most environmentally friendly way into the future."

Aker Philadelphia Shipyard is a leading U.S. commercial shipyard constructing vessels for operation in the Jones Act market. It possesses a state-of-the-art shipbuilding facility and has earned a reputation as the preferred provider of oceangoing merchant vessels with a track record of delivering quality ships. The shipyard delivered four newly-built Jones Act containerships for Matson between 2003 and 2006.

By Professional Mariner Staff