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Sunday, April 2, 2017
Carnival Cancelled Thanks to OHA Money Grab?
By Andrew Walden @ 5:32 PM :: 5694 Views :: Maui County, OHA, Small Business

by Andrew Walden

Is the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) behind increases in inter-island shipping costs?

Last December HawaiiFreePress.com pointed out that under terms of 2006 Act 178, OHA is absconding with 13.6% of Harbors Division revenue--a total of $77.4M through 2015.  OHA's take is up 78% since 2007.  This translates into higher 'wharfage fees' passed onto shippers and consumers.

With a carnival planned for Maui, EK Fernandez Shows March 31, 2017 announced:

We sincerely apologize to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui for abruptly cancelling the 2nd annual Maui County Carnival. We did not receive the round-trip shipping quote until four days before the scheduled barge departure. The quoted rate was almost $200,000, which represents 46% of our entire shipping bill in 2015 for all our island voyages, including the Kauai, Kona, Hilo, and Maui Fairs. We requested a rate reduction so that we could fulfill our commitment to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui and to all the families who were anticipating a weekend of fun. However, our request was denied on Wednesday, March 29, so it became unaffordable for us to come to Maui. 

Why are Young Brothers rates soaring?  Roy Catalani, Vice President of Young Brothers tells Maui Now March 30, 2017 there is a need top reduce State wharfage charges:

“As a charter for a single customer, this also affords E.K. Fernandez a discount of more than one-third over our tariff rates. E.K. Fernandez’s total shipping cost to the Maui Carnival would have been a 9% increase over last year — the first year that Young Brothers has delivered cargo for this particular event.”

Catalani explained, “A little over half of this increase, about 5%, is attributable to State wharfage charges (which is used for State harbor improvements). The other 4% of this fee covers inflation and the cost for Young Brothers to do business, including increases in fuel, unscheduled labor and voyage costs.”

...(The) timing allows us no opportunity to work with E.K. Fernandez on this matter, such as collaborating with the State Department of Transportation, the County Fair Board and E.K. Fernandez to explore whether it would be possible to reduce State wharfage charges for the benefit of County fairs.”

“We offer, and hope, to have a discussion with these interested parties in order to reach a resolution before the Maui County Fair in October and other County fairs scheduled statewide,” Catalani said.

In addition to OHA's money grab, HIDOT's large project costs are a factor.

The Kalapama Container Yard shouldn't be such a burden, but the State of Hawaii is one of only a handful of states where legislators have not enacted “enabling legislation” for transportation and other infrastructure. (See: P-3 Viability Assessment, pg 7)

Friends of the Port of Hawaii points out:

Carnival cancelled due to higher shipping costs ... and so begins the effects of the $450M Kapalama Container Yard. This is not the shipper's fault. DOT is jacking up wharfage fees 54% over three years to pay for a container terminal that should be funded by private funds. Write or call your legislator!

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