Matson launches new US-flag service to Marshall Islands

(HONOLULU) — Matson Inc., a leading U.S. carrier in the Pacific, has launched its new direct U.S.-flag service between Honolulu and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), reducing cargo transit times to the RMI from the U.S. mainland by as many as eight days. The new service will call at three ports in the RMI, Kwajalein, Ebeye and Majuro, every 17 days. 

Matson purchased a 700-TEU, U.S.-flagged containership to operate the new service. Christened Kamokuiki, or "small island or vessel" in the Hawaiian language, the vessel is well suited to serving island communities with two 45-ton cranes, hydraulic folding hatch covers and high maneuverability that allows docking without tugs.

The vessel's first voyage began in Honolulu on Saturday and will conclude at Kwajalein on Nov. 3.

Matson has served the RMI since 1972. It currently serves Kwajalein, Ebeye and Majuro from the U.S. West Coast via Guam, where westbound containerized and bulk cargo is transshipped to Matson's Micronesia service. The new service from the U.S. West Coast to Kwajalein, Ebeye and Majuro via Honolulu will deliver cargo with a transit time of approximately two weeks, compared to three weeks or more with the current service.

By Professional Mariner Staff