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Pasha to start shipping between isles on Feb. 15

The routes and types of cargo allowed on the company's biweekly service will be limited

By Andrew Gomes


The monopoly in Hawaii's interisland shipping market is scheduled to end in two weeks with the start of limited service by Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines LLC.

Pasha announced yesterday it will begin one-way, biweekly service on Feb. 15 from Honolulu to Kahului and Hilo.

"Our company is proud to deliver on a promise made to our customers to offer interisland services," George Pasha IV, chief executive officer of Pasha Hawaii, said in a statement.

The company received approval in September from the state Public Utilities Commission for the service over the objections of the state's sole interisland ocean cargo transportation firm, Young Bros. Ltd.

The PUC is allowing a test for the Pasha service, which it could terminate if results of the operation produce substantial harm to businesses and consumers.

Young Bros. has argued that Pasha will skim a portion of more profitable service that will force the incumbent carrier to raise rates and possibly reduce service.

Young Bros. applied to the PUC in December for an average rate increase of 24 percent, of which 6 percentage points, it said, is needed to counter anticipated revenue losses created by Pasha. The PUC has yet to rule on the request.

Pasha's rates generally are higher than present rates of Young Bros. For roll-on, roll-off cargo per 40 cubic feet, Pasha charges $26.75 to Hilo and $24.25 to Kahului, which compares with $23.38 and $21.28, respectively, for Young Bros. For medium-weight automobiles, Pasha charges $226 to Hilo and $202 to Kahului, compared with $197 and $176 for Young Bros.

Pasha's service will be the first time since statehood that shipping between Hawaiian islands is open to competition. But the new service is limited.

Young Bros. operates 12 weekly round-trip routes carrying a wide variety of goods between Honolulu and neighbor island ports. The breakdown of Young Bros. port calls is two for Hilo, two for Kona, two for Kauai, three for Maui, two for Molokai and one for Lanai.

Pasha will use its 579-foot roll-on, roll-off cargo ship, the Jean Anne, which is limited to carrying items that can be driven onto the ship's 10 enclosed decks. Livestock and refrigerated cargo won't be carried.

No stops will be made at Molokai or Lanai because the harbors there are too small for Pasha's ship. Pasha said it will make special stops at Kauai's Nawiliwili Harbor based on customer needs.

Pasha already transports cargo on the Jean Anne from San Diego to Honolulu, Kahului and Hilo but is prohibited from picking up and delivering cargo between Hawaii ports.

The new service will allow Pasha to pick up cargo in Honolulu and deliver it to other Hawaii ports. Pasha also can pick up cargo at the other Hawaii ports, though its ship will sail to San Diego after Hilo.

Pasha said it could seek future route adjustments depending on customer needs.

The California-based company said customer requests were the reason it sought to launch interisland service.

"Since the inception of our mainland service (in 2005), Pasha Hawaii has been approached by many of our clients to offer specialized interisland services not available through other carriers," said Reggie Maldonado, Pasha's general manager in Hawaii.

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