Matson charterers foreign flag containership for Samoa service
by Michael Hansen, Hawaii Shippers Council, June 2, 2017
Matson Inc. (NYSE: MATX) issued a press release on June 1, 2017, “Matson Increases Its South Pacific Express Service with 'Samoana', ” announcing they are replacing their chartered Antigua-Barbuda flag containership ISLANDER III (ex-Suzanne) with the Singapore flag SAMOANA (ex-Tacoma Trader) for their Hawaii-Samoa routing, which they refer to as the South Pacific Express (SPX) service.
Matson inaugurated their Honolulu-based SPX container service with the sailing of the ISLANDER III from Honolulu on August 10, 2016, for Pago Pago, American Samoa. The ship also called at ports in Samoa (formerly Western Samoa), Tonga and Fiji and offered a 28 day frequency.
By linking their mainline ships and SPX service, Matson importantly offers a transshipment service from their U.S. West Coast (USWC) ports of call over their Honolulu Terminal on Sand Island in Honolulu Harbor to South Pacific destinations.
Matson’s SPX routing and frequency changed when the ISLANDER Voyage No. 011 sailed from Honolulu on May 13, 2017. The South Pacific range ports of call were reduced to just Pago Pago and Apia, Samoa. With those changes the overall service frequency was now said to be every 17.5 days, and the transit time for cargo from the USWC and relayed over Honolulu to Pago Pago, 14 days. ISLANDER III Voy 011 terminated upon its departure from Honolulu on June 2, 2017, when the ship was presumably no longer under charter and sailed away to her next employment.
The SAMOANA Voy 001 arrived to and sailed from Honolulu on May 30, 2017, after being alongside Pier 52 (at the Matson Terminal on Sand Island) for six (6) hours. Her estimated time of arrival (ETA) at Pago Pago is June 5, 2017 according to Matson’s sailing schedule. The schedule calls for the SAMOANA to maintain a fortnightly (every 14 day) frequency and offer a transit time of 12 days from Long Beach, California, to Pago Pago. The intention to be competitive with the transit time off the USWC to Pago Pago by direct call which is typically 14 days and offered by two international carriers.
Matson plans to achieve a higher service frequency with the SAMOANA, because it’s a larger and faster ship than the ISLANDER III. The SAMOANA is scheduled to make the passage from Honolulu and Pago Pago of 2267.2 nautical miles (nm) in 5.5 days, which would necessitate an average speed of 17.2 knots (kn). Her maximum speed is said to be 18.5 kn.
The SAMOANA is a fully cellular containership built in 2015 in China, has a nominal cargo capacity of 1103 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU), stability capacity of 706 TEU at 14 metric tonnes (MT) homogenous stowage, and 2 cargo cranes with 45 MT safe working load (SWL) each.
The SAMOANA was time chartered by Matson from Lomar Shipping Limited, a privately-owned ship ownership and management company with a diversified fleet of over 80 container ships, bulk carriers, and chemical and product tankers operating all around the world. Lomar was founded in 1976 as an owner and operator of reefer ships operating in the global movement of perishable goods. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Libra Capital Limited, a British corporation headquartered in London, England, U.K.
Matson, Inc. (NYSE: MATX), a leading U.S. carrier in the Pacific, has announced that it will increase the frequency of its South Pacific Express (SPX) service to Samoa and American Samoa from 28 days to 14 days. The service provides the fastest transit time from Hawai'i and the U.S. West Coast to the Samoas: 12 days from Long Beach and 5 ½ days from Honolulu to Pago Pago, with an extra day to Apia.
Matson launched its SPX service on August 10, 2016, establishing reliable, fixed day shipping service between the U.S. West Coast, Hawai'i and the Samoas. Its new fortnightly SPX schedule is made possible by the company's acquisition of a larger, faster vessel that has been christened "Samoana" and will be welcomed at special ceremonies following its maiden voyage arrivals at Pago Pago and Apia.
Senior Vice President-Pacific Tuilaepa Vic Angoco. "We are excited that we can now offer increased frequency to North America and Hawai'i for importers and exporters alike, improving the flow of goods from the U.S. and optimizing access for Samoa produce and goods into US markets."
"We are also pleased to announce that the new vessel serving the Samoas will be named 'MV Samoana,' underscoring Matson's commitment to the Samoas, Tonga and the Cook Islands.
MV Samoana, with a capacity of 1,103 TEUs,* will replace the 844-TEU MV Islander, which had been operating the previous 28-day service.