|This story has been corrected.|
Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines LLC is broadening its plan to become a bigger competitor in the state’s ocean cargo market, announcing yesterday that it will carry containers in addition to vehicles on a new ship slated to begin service in 2013.
Pasha unveiled plans for the new vessel in February, saying at the time that the ship, like its existing service, would carry only wheeled cargo such as cars and construction equipment that can be driven onto ship decks.
But Reggie Maldonado, the company’s general manager in Hawaii, said customers encouraged Pasha to expand beyond roll-on/roll-off service.
“Many of our customers encouraged us to diversify our capability,” he said. “Our second vessel will both better serve this market and provide increased frequency and superior reliability.”
The new ship, which is costing at least $144 million, increases the frequency of Pasha’s service between Honolulu and San Diego from once every other week to once a week.
The design change further heightens competitive pressure on both Matson Navigation Co. and Horizon Lines Inc., the two dominant companies shipping containers and vehicles between Hawaii and the mainland.
Pasha’s new move potentially could also ratchet up competition with Young Bros. Ltd., which carries cargo in the state-regulated market between Hawaii ports.
Pasha officials say it is too early to say whether the company will seek approval to use a new ship under construction for picking up and delivering cargo between Hawaii ports.
The PUC agreed in September to allow Pasha to transport cargo between islands for a test period up to three years using its existing ship. At any time during the period, the agency could terminate Pasha’s service if any detrimental effects outweigh benefits.
The new ship, named the Marjorie C, is slated for delivery in the fall of 2013. Pasha began using its existing ship, the Jean Anne, for service from Honolulu to Kahului and Hilo in February.
The test period is slated to end in December 2013.
Young Bros., which has had a monopoly in the interisland ocean cargo trade for more than 50 years, opposed the opening up of the market on grounds that Pasha cherry-picked the most profitable ports and cargo. Pasha doesn’t carry livestock or refrigerated cargo, and doesn’t stop on Molokai or Lanai because the harbors there are too small. Pasha said it will make special stops at Kauai’s Nawiliwili Harbor based on customer needs.
Young Bros. operates 12 weekly round-trip routes carrying a variety of goods between Honolulu and Hilo, Kona, Kauai, Maui, Molokai and Lanai ports. Young Bros. said competition from Pasha could force it to reduce its service frequency and raise prices.
Pasha’s new ship is 692 feet long, or more than 100 feet longer than the 579-foot Jean Anne.
Unlike the Jean Anne, the Marjorie C will be able to carry 1,500 20-foot containers above and below deck. The new ship also will be able to carry 2,750 vehicles on 10 decks. The Jean Anne can carry roughly 3,000 vehicles.
The Marjorie C is being built by VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Miss. Pasha, which entered the Hawaii market with the Jean Anne in 2005, also has an option to build a third ship for a base price of $137 million.
Marjorie C is named after Pasha CEO George Pasha IV’s maternal grandmother, Marjorie Catherine Ryan.
» Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines LLC officials say it is too early to say whether the company will seek approval to use a new ship under construction for picking up and delivering cargo between Hawaii ports. A Page B5 article Wednesday reported that Pasha planned to use the new ship in interisland service.