Matson to Step Up Service as Horizon Steps Out


Guam – Matson  is assuring Guam customers that it has the vessel capacity and equipment to handle additional volume after Horizon Lines pulls its container shipping service to Guam in November.

Matson Public Relations Officer Jeff Hull issued a statement to the media this morning, following news from Horizon Lines that it would discontinue its Guam service effective November 10th and China services November 2nd.

“Matson has been serving Guam continuously since 1996 and remains firmly committed to delivering reliable vessel schedules for the region’s business community,” Dave Hoppes, senior vice president, ocean services was quoted saying the press release.  “Our service encompasses all major ports on the West Coast, with Honolulu serving as a transshipment hub for Guam-destined cargo.  We will do what is necessary to ensure that all Guam cargo currently moved from the U.S. will be efficiently accommodated, without compromising the service standards that Guam’s business community knows today. “

That same commitment, Hoppes says, extends to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

“While we fully expect a new entrant to succeed Horizon Lines in the future, we are confident we can provide the needed stability in the trade during this transition period as well as in the long haul” Hoppes said.

No one from Matson Guam Office was available for an on-camera interview today but during a phone converstation with PNC this morning Hull said Matson would be providing the services without raising its rates or adding additional fleet.

Horizon lines cites an increase in freight rates from China to the uU.S., the rise in fuel costs, and the delay of the Military Buildup on Guam as reasons for pulling services in the area.

“Given current market conditions and foreseeable future expectations, discontinuing the FSX [Five Star Express] service is the appropriate decision for the company.” Horizon Chief Operating Officer Brian Taylor said in a statement.

PNC contacted Horizon’s Guam Manager Hugh Healey but he said he could not comment on the news until after the company’s board meets on Friday.

In response to the news from Horizon Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo sent out the following statement to the media this morning:

“We are losing a good partner in Horizon Lines, and I am disappointed in their decision to discontinue service to Guam,” said Congresswoman Bordallo.  “At a time when our economy can least afford it, this announcement by Horizon is an unintended consequence of delaying the military build-up on Guam.  Uncertainty created by the Senate provisions and cuts to military construction do not give businesses and investors confidence to incur further risks.  So many jobs depend on a known schedule and pace for the military build-up.  The Navy’s decision to not execute Japanese Mamizu funds and the Senate’s language are contributing factors in this immediate loss of jobs in our community.  I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress and officials in the Department of Defense to ensure the build-up progresses in accordance with the Guam International Agreement.  We must move forward in a timely manner that gives confidence to investors who have staked significant resources on the build-up and who share the risk with our community.”