New SIU jobs are on the way following the recent christening of a union-built containership. Matson’s Kaimana Hila formally was welcomed March 9 at Philly Shipyard. U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) served as the vessel’s sponsor.
The new vessel is the sister ship of the SIU-crewed Daniel K. Inouye, which was christened in June and went into service in November 2018. According to Matson, Kaimana Hila “is a Hawaiian transliteration for Diamond Head, the name of Hawaii’s iconic landmark crater near Waikiki Beach.”
Matson further reported that the two Aloha Class ships were built at a total cost of approximately $418 million, and are the first of four new vessels that Matson will put into its Hawaii service (part of the Jones Act trade) during the next 18 months.
“This is a proud day for everyone at Matson,” said Matt Cox, Matson’s chairman and chief executive officer, during the shipyard ceremony. “Daniel K. Inouye has performed well in its first four months of service, and we are excited to have Kaimana Hila joining it soon. These new vessels herald the beginning of a new era in our Hawaii service and will allow us to serve our customers better than ever for decades to come.”
Steinar Nerbovik, Philly Shipyard president and CEO, said, “I’d like to extend my gratitude to Matson. Construction of the Kaimana Hila, and its earlier sister ship, has provided good, skilled work for nearly 1,500 people at Philly Shipyard over the last three years. We are immensely proud to provide another quality and safe vessel that Matson can be proud of for years to come.” The ceremony was attended by approximately 70 representatives of Matson and the shipyard. Weighing in at more than 51,400 metric tons, the 850-foot long and 3,600 TEU capacity Kaimana Hila and Daniel K. Inouye are Matson’s largest ships and the largest containerships ever constructed in the U.S. They are also Matson’s fastest vessels, with a top speed of nearly 24 knots. This feature helps ensure on-time deliveries in Hawaii from Matson’s three West Coast terminals in Seattle, Washington; Oakland, California; and Long Beach, California.
In addition, both Aloha Class vessels incorporate the latest environmentally friendly technology, including dual-fuel engines that can be adapted to use liquefied natural gas (LNG), double-hull fuel tanks, freshwater ballast systems and a more fuel-efficient hull design.