Matson said earlier this month that it plans to build two new containerships.
At an investment conference sponsored by the investment bank Stephens,
the company said its strategic re-fleeting plan calls for two new containerships to be built in the next three to five years to replace existing older ships. The company estimated the ships would cost about $200 million each.
Jeff Hull, a spokesman for the company, stressed these are preliminary estimates and Matson has not designed the ships, let alone contracted with a yard for the vessels.
Matson built four ships, built between 2000 and 2006, at the Aker Philadelphia shipyard at a cost of about $500 million.
Matson noted the average age of its current nine-ship active fleet is 19 years.
Michael Hansen, president of the Hawaii Shippers Council (HSC), complained the cost of $200 million for the new ships was "extravagant," and estimated the cost of building a 2,600-TEU ship of similar in size to those built by Aker a decade ago would be $40 million today at a foreign shipyard.
Hansen said HSC wants "to exempt the noncontiguous domestic trades from the U.S.-build requirement for deep draft self-propelled oceangoing ships. This would allow the use of significantly lower cost foreign-built U.S.-flag ships in those trades. We have made a formal proposal of this very limited exemption to the Jones Act that would not change the requirements for U.S. crew and U.S. ownership." - Chris Dupin