With Matson being the buyer it was their hand to play with a goal to keep TOTE out in Hawaii while entering the Alaska service. Matson bought Horizon and then sold the Hawaiian operation to Pasha. Do you really think they would have ever considered selling it to TOTE? Not a chance in my book. By selling to Pasha they removed any qualms of Matson becoming a near monopoly regulatory wise. Pasha was already serving Hawaii as a bit player so by selling the operation to them it reduced the competition from 3 companies to 2 with Matson remaining as the big fish in that pond.
Does the MEBA leadership include a position in its leadership that is similar to a “business development” person at a company? There are tugs, foreign flags, and other smaller vessels that may be interested in well trained MEBA engineers.
I certainly don’t know, but i’ve heard that TOTE is really hurting financially. That certainly sounds possible given El Faro and El Yunkie, and putting two new super expensive ships into service. Maybe that is why they have put expansion into Hawaii on hold.
Saltchuk owns TOTE which owns Foss which owns Young Bros. which has most of the tugboat business in Hawaii. I think Saltchuk also owns a petroleum distribution business and a fleet of gas stations in Hawaii. Saltchuk owns trucking companies and air freight carriers, but I don’t know whether they are active in Hawaii.
It seems like TOTE should be one of the largest carriers in the Hawaii trade. It’s probably just a question of when, not if.
TOTE and Foss must be making money by the ship load on government contracts and super high utilization on the Puerto Rico run. That is going to continue for many years of rebuilding. TOTE will continue to grow when the time is right.
I think Matson should seriously look at taking these 4 ships from Philly Shipyard especially if they can get a “distressed” deal. If they did, they’d have brand new, fuel efficient, 3600 TEU ships that they could put on their china run. By the time the last one is delivered (2024), the RJ Pfeiffer will be 32 years old and the oldest of their last batch of 4 ships from Philly (Maunawili) will be 20 years old. They could then rotate those 4 older ships (built 2004 to 2006) to their Alaska trade to replace the even older ships in service up there.
I don’t think TOTE is hurting as much as they might seem. I think that TOTE’s Hawaii expansion hinged on getting the terminal space at Kapalama. That plan went away when Kapalama went to Pasha. Right now Pasha is loading/unloading their containers at Sand Island in space that, from what I understand, is being leased from Matson. Pasha’s RORO stuff happens over at pier 1. It makes sense for Pasha to consolidate everything into one facility. So, TOTE can’t go into Sand Island (being that it’s all Matson), and they didn’t get Kapalama, so that leaves pier 1 as the only real spot available for them.
Kapalama terminal is still just an empty field. The environmental reviews have been done, but the facility still needs to be built (docks, container cranes, etc). Projected completion date is in 2020 assuming no delays (ha!). So, the soonest that Pasha would be giving up pier 1 is 2020. It’s doubtful that TOTE would be able to start work improving pier 1 before then.
Of course, that’s assuming that TOTE gets permission to even improve the facility. There are some pretty ritzy condo buildings close enough to Pier 1 and there are already lots of complaints about noise from cargo hold fans and deck lighting from current cargo operations. I’m not going to get into the absurdity of moving next to a port and then complaining about the port, but just take a look at how much flak airport expansion projects get from the NIMBYs.
I wouldn’t say that TOTE’s plans are completely dead in the water, but they aren’t likely to be happening before 2025.
I agree with @Hawespiper though. Matson should jump on these ships and use them to replace their Horizon tonnage. Now is the perfect time to make the modifications that make year round operations in Alaska more feasable. It’s certainly much easier than trying to retrofit something to work.
Me thinks that statement is not correct. Pasha is leasing Pier 51A from HDOT. Before it became Pasha’s terminal it was Horizon/CSX Lines/Sea-Land’s base of operations in Hawaii. SeaLand got it when they took over US Lines Hawaii/Guam assets.
If I am not mistaken Sand Island (container terminal) was developed in the 1970’s though my history might be off on that.
All Philly shipyard had from TOTE was a Letter of Intent (LOI). Shipyards really don’t start procuring material until a firm contract to build is signed. Matson already has 4 ships on order, 2 at Philly and 2 at NASSCO. Two of those ships will replace the last of the steamships that are currently in service and scrap the others laid up.
The oldest motorships Matson has running are the C9’s they got from APL. They were built in 1982/83. If I am not mistaken those are powered by RND Sulzer engines.
While Matson brought a new crane to the terminal in Kodiak, the cranes in Anchorage have limited reach. Until the terminal in Anchorage gets newer cranes having bigger ships than the D7’s (currently on that run) would mean the ships would have to undock and flip around to fully work the ship. The D7’s fully loaded carry the same amount of cargo as TOTE’s Orca class RO-RO’s. https://www.portofalaska.com/modernization-project/
“As previously disclosed, PSI has placed orders for all major long-lead items for the first pair. If these orders were to be cancelled, then the cancellation costs would be substantially lower than the value of the orders placed.”
So if Matson can make them a deal to get the ships at some lower cost but still better than PSI eating the cancellation costs, who knows…without knowing all the numbers it’s impossible to say one way or the other.
I didn’t include the C9’s in my original post as they are definitely going away. Per Matson’s press release:
"The two Kanaloa Class ships will replace three diesel powered vessels in active service, which will be moved to reserve status. With delivery of the Kanaloa Class ships, along with its two new Aloha Class ships, Matson will have completed the renewal of its Hawaii fleet, allowing it to retire its seven older steamship vessels that will no longer comply with environmental regulations in 2020 without substantial modification.
The larger capacity of the Aloha Class and Kanaloa Class vessels will allow Matson to return to an optimal nine-ship fleet deployment in Hawaii, increasing efficiency and lowering operating costs."
So, the 4 new builds will replace the 5 ships currently operating exclusively between Hawaii and the US West Coast. (another kick in the balls to MEBA, but I digress).
What I was suggesting in my original post was IF Matson can swing a deal and get some/all of these 4 ships previously going to Tote then they could put them on the China run where their greater TEU capacity and better fuel economy would reap maximum benefit. They could then rotate the 4 2500/2600 class ships that are currently on the China run to the Alaska run to replace the old D7s.
I was unaware about the limitations of the cranes in the Alaskan ports so yeah, that would have to be addressed.
With regards to Philly Shipyard saying they would be canceling orders places on major long lead items…I have been involved in newbuild programs and unless there is a firm contract to build there really aren’t firm orders placed upline. There may be LOI or options on existing orders (after all the 4 TOTE was considering were a continuation of the 2 Matson has ordered), but nothing guaranteed. This is not to say there weren’t some development or planning costs but those are relatively low.
The cranes in Alaska have been a long standing issue. When the Consumer or Fairbanks made the run they either offset the cargo to one side as much as possible or flipped the ship during cargo ops. Major pain in the ass.
I agree the MEBA will likely lose work given the smaller crew size and overall number of ships Matson may choose to operate.
The ConRo Kanaloa Class ships Matson is building were specifically designed to replace the Matsonia and Lurline.
Yeah the 2600 class is 8.5M wider than the D7’s so the crane situation would have to be addressed for sure.
Still though I’d really like to know how much extra money could be made per 35 day round trip (China run) with the Aloha Class’s combination of 40% more TEU per ship and the fuel savings of an electronically controlled engine.
The run is China-us west coast-hawaii-Guam-Okinawa-China…5 ships, 35 day run, weekly service at each port. Jones act compliance is required for USWC-Hawaii-Guam portion. My understanding is that they get a premium rate (thus allowing them to pay their higher costs) for the China to USWC leg because of the quick turnaround time they can provide in long Beach due to their small vessels (compared to the foreign flag ships) and dedicated docks. Plus this allows the ships to be loaded on both the east bound and west bound legs.
The ships currently on that run are 3x2600, 1x2500, and 1x1600-1900 (Nassco’s fact sheet is a little vague on the Pfeiffer) TEUs. The Pfeiffer was built in 1992 and the other four from 2003-2006. The ships in the Alaska trade that I am proposing to replace were built in 1987 and will be approaching 40 years of age by the time the last of these four ex-Tote ships would be launched.
Got a chance to tour the first of the Aloha class ships up in Philly. Second one is being built in the adjacent drydock. Had to sign a non disclosure form so I can’t post pics, but it is really an impressive ship. First time I’ve seen an ME engine (no camshaft) so that was cool.