Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ocean Freight Carrier Introduces Container Service to the South Pacific

US Shippers Promised a Faster Route to and from the Exotic Islands
Shipping News Feature
US – SOUTH PACIFIC – Ocean shipping line and multimodal carrier, Matson has announced the introduction of a fast containership service between the US West Coast and ports in Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga and Fiji. Starting August 10, 2016, Matson's ‘South Pacific Express’ (SPX) will for the first time link the company's well established West Coast - Hawaii service with its South Pacific network. Using a dedicated ship to carry West Coast cargo transhipped at Honolulu, SPX will provide same-day-of-week South Pacific arrivals every 28 days, calling at:

Apia, Samoa; Pago Pago, American Samoa; Nuku'alofa, Tonga; Suva, Fiji; and Lautoka, Fiji before returning to Honolulu.

Matson's South Pacific Express will be the only direct service from Hawaii to the South Pacific and the fastest ocean carrier service between North America and the Samoan Islands. It is hoped the new service will also provide new links and associated economic opportunities among the islands it serves. Matt Cox, President and Chief Executive Officer, said:

"We have sought for some time the right opportunity to link our networks in the northern and South Pacific in a way that enhances both operations. While it represents a relatively small addition to our route structure, SPX allows us to leverage existing services to expand Matson's service offerings for West Coast shippers and boost our efforts to build fast, reliable services in the South Pacific."

Along with competitive transit times from US ports to the South Pacific, Matson's claims its dedicated terminal operations on the West Coast provide shippers using the new SPX service with superior flexibility in cargo receiving any day of the week, faster truck turn times and access to Matson's extensive chassis inventory in US ports. Full sailing schedules can be seen here.

Matson will redeploy a vessel in its existing South Pacific fleet, the 510 TEU, 5650 DWT vessel Liloa, flagged in Antigua and Barbuda, to operate the new service. This isn't actually the first time Matson has served the South Pacific from the West Coast. Matson Lines passenger cruises plied the route in the heyday of such voyages from the 1930s through to the 1960s, establishing early tourism in the Territory of Hawaii and islands of the South Pacific.

Photo: The American Samoan port of Pago Pago.