Matson Navigation Company Inc., a subsidiary of Matson Inc., has signed contracts with Philly Shipyard Inc. to build three new 3,600-TEU Aloha-class containerships, for a total price tag of $1 billion.
Matson, based in Honolulu, expects the first vessel to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2026, with subsequent deliveries in 2027. The three vessels will join two Aloha-class ships that the Philly Shipyard delivered in 2018 and 2019.
Like their sister ships Daniel K. Inouye and Kaimana Hila, the new 854’ vessels will be equipped with dual fuel engines that are designed to operate on either conventional marine fuels or liquefied natural gas (LNG), capable of speeds over 23 knots. The earlier ships require some modification to operate with LNG, but the new ships will be delivered LNG-ready.
The design also features other "green ship technology" features, such as a fuel-efficient hull design and environmentally safe double hull fuel tanks and freshwater ballast systems.
"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 sister ships, 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 Aloha-class vessels are the largest containerships ever built in the U.S. and are designed to operate at speeds in excess of 23 knots in support of Matson's service hallmark – timely delivery of goods.
Philly Shipyard, Philadelphia, is a leading U.S. 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 newbuild 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.
The three new Aloha-class ships will replace three vessels currently deployed in Matson's China-Long Beach Express (CLX) service. Those older CLX vessels will in turn replace three older vessels currently deployed in Matson’s Alaska service, bringing larger and faster vessels into that trade lane.
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.
Matson has set corporate goals to achieve a 40% reduction in Scope 1 greenhouse gas (GHG) fleet emissions by 2030 and net-zero Scope 1 GHG emissions by 2050.