Matson, Inc. (NYSE: MATX Matson), a leading U.S. carrier in the Pacific, has announced the introduction of a fast containership service between the U.S. 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 transshipped at Honolulu, SPX will provide reliable, same-day-of-week South Pacific arrivals every 28 days, calling on Apia, Samoa; Pago Pago, American Samoa; Nuku'alofa, Tonga; Suva, Fiji and Lautoka, Fiji before returning to Honolulu.
Container ship Liloa (ex Reef Samoa) - Image: L.J.Axt
"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," said Matt Cox, president and chief executive officer.
"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."
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 Samoas. The new service will also provide new links and associated economic opportunities among the islands it serves.
Along with competitive transit times from U.S. ports to the South Pacific, Matson's 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 Matson's extensive chassis inventory in U.S. ports.
Matson will redeploy a vessel in its existing South Pacific fleet, the internationally flagged 510-TEU vessel Liloa, to operate the new service.
This isn't the first time Matson has served the South Pacific from the West Coast. Matson Lines passenger cruises plied the route from the 1930s through the 1960s, establishing early tourism in the Territory of Hawaii and islands of the South Pacific.