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Matson, NASSCO christen second Kanaloa-class con-ro

Jul 6, 2020 05:22 PM

The 870-foot Matsonia will join sister Lurline in the Jones Act trade to Hawaii

Courtesy Matson

The following is text of a news release from Matson:

(SAN DIEGO) — Matson Inc., a leading U.S. carrier in the Pacific, and General Dynamics NASSCO christened Matsonia, the second of two Kanaloa-class vessels — the largest combination container/roll-on, roll-off (con-ro) ships ever built in the United States — in a ceremony Thursday at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego. 

Matsonia is an iconic name in Matson's long history, dating to the construction of Matson's first ship of that name in 1912. Three more ships were given the name in subsequent years; this vessel is the fifth.

The new Matsonia is the second of two new ships being built for Honolulu-based Matson by NASSCO at a total cost of approximately $500 million for the pair, and the fourth of four new vessels that Matson will put into service during 2018, 2019 and 2020. Named in honor of the ocean deity revered in the native Hawaiian culture, Matson's two Kanaloa-class vessels are built on a 3,500 TEU platform.

At 870 feet long and 114 feet wide, with a deep draft of 38 feet and weighing in at over 50,000 metric tons, Matsonia will join Lurline as Matson's largest ships and the largest con-ros ever constructed in the U.S. They are also among Matson's fastest vessels, with a top speed of 23 knots, helping ensure on-time deliveries in Hawaii from Matson's three West Coast terminals in Seattle, Oakland and Long Beach. 

Both new Kanaloa-class vessels will have an enclosed garage with room for approximately 500 vehicles, plus ample space for rolling stock and break-bulk cargo. They will also feature a fuel-efficient hull design, environmentally safe double-hull fuel tanks, freshwater ballast systems and the first EPA Tier 3 dual-fuel engines to be deployed in containerships regularly serving West Coast ports. 

Under the latest International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirements for engine manufacturers, Tier 3 engines reduce the levels of particulate emissions by 40 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 20 percent, as compared to Tier 2 standards. Matson's deployment of Tier 3 engines in both Kanaloa-class vessels is supported by California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.

"Matson is already benefiting from the speed, capacity and improved environmental profile of the three new ships we've put into service since 2018," said Matt Cox, Matson's chairman and chief executive officer, after the shipyard ceremony. "Matsonia will be our fourth new ship, completing a three-year fleet renewal program that positions us well to serve the needs of our communities in Hawaii for many years to come."

"As a proud U.S. company and Jones Act carrier, our investment in this new ship is about much more than maintaining a high level of service to Hawaii. It also helps drive substantial economic benefits in and opportunities in communities around the Pacific, where this vessel will operate," Cox said.

"The construction of Matsonia represents over a year's work for about 2,000 professionals here at NASSCO – engineers, tradesmen and lots of support people and countless others who produced the materials used to build this ship that are sourced here in the U.S. Over its expected lifespan, this ship will generate approximately 4.5 million man-hours of work opportunity for the U.S. mariners who will operate it, and decades of steady work for all of the dockworkers and terminal personnel that move the cargo on and off our ships.

"These are all living-wage jobs, supporting the families of these American workers and the taxes they pay," Cox said. "Multiply that by all the ships NASSCO and other U.S. shipyards are building, and you get a sense of the value of the maritime industry to our country and its economy. In California alone, there are more than 51,000 jobs tied to the American maritime industry, providing over $3.6 billion in labor income with a total economic impact in the state of more than $12 billion."

Dave Carver, president of General Dynamics NASSCO, said, "Matsonia is a reflection of the highest standards of shipbuilding and we are proud to celebrate her launching. This extraordinary vessel is a testament to the hard work, unity and strength of our thousands of dedicated shipbuilders who made this possible."

Matson invited Peggy Forest, wife of Matson's President Ron Forest, to officially christen the vessel by breaking a ceremonial bottle of champagne against the ship's hull. Immediately after the bottle was broken, the vessel was released from its build ways and slid backward into San Diego Bay. Matsonia was then docked at NASSCO's nearby testing and trials berth, where the final stages of construction will be completed. 

Matson is expected to take delivery of the vessel in the fourth quarter of 2020.

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