Matson splurges $1 billion on LNG-ready boxships

Aloha Class vessel Daniel K Inouye.

Matson’s subsidiary Matson Navigation Company has signed contracts with Philly Shipyard Inc. to build three new 3,600 TEU Aloha Class containerships for $1 billion.

The new vessels will join two Aloha Class ships previously built for Matson by Philly Shipyard that entered service in 2018 and 2019.

The new vessels will be equipped with dual fuel engines that are designed to operate on either conventional marine fuels or liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The ships host other “green ship technology” features, such as a fuel-efficient hull design and environmentally safe double hull fuel tanks and freshwater ballast systems.

While the 2018/19 ships require some modification to operate with LNG, the new ships will be delivered LNG-ready.

The three new Aloha Class ships will replace three vessels currently deployed in Matson’s China-Long Beach Express (CLX) service, which will in turn replace three older vessels currently deployed in its Alaska service, redeploying bigger and faster vessels into that trade lane.

The first vessel is expected to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2026 with subsequent deliveries in 2027.

READ: Matson launches new China service to Port of Oakland

“Our existing Aloha Class ships are among the fastest, most efficient vessels in the Matson fleet,” said Matt Cox, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

“These new Jones Act compliant vessels will be built specifically for our China-Long Beach Express service, and like their sisterships, are expected to help Matson achieve its 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal while also providing additional capacity and speed benefitting our Hawaii service as well as the CLX.”

The 854-foot Aloha Class vessels are the largest containerships ever built in the US and are designed to operate at speeds in excess of 23 knots.

Philly Shipyard is a leading US commercial shipyard constructing vessels for operation in the domestic Jones Act trade lanes.

Prior to Matson’s first two Aloha Class ships, the shipyard delivered four newly built Jones Act containerships for Matson between 2003 and 2006.

“It is the ultimate compliment when a former customer returns for another project. We are proud of the six vessels previously delivered to Matson, and are again ready to execute and deliver this important project.” said Steinar Nerbovik, Philly Shipyard President and Chief Executive Officer.

Matson expects to finance the new vessels with cash currently in the Capital Construction Fund and through cash flows from operations, borrowings available under the Company’s unsecured revolving credit facility and additional debt financings.

Last month Chinese shipyard Yangzijiang Shipbuilding won works for 22 new vessels, including LNG containerships.

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