Matson, Inc. has signed a contract with Aker Philadelphia Shipyard Inc. to build two new container ships for a total price of $418 million and said it will name the first ship after the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.
Matson said Inouye “was a longstanding supporter of the U.S. maritime industry and its role in supporting Hawaii’s economy.”
“The decision to name the first Aloha Class ship in honor of Senator Inouye was a natural one,” said Matt Cox, Matson president and CEO. “He left an unparalleled legacy in Hawaii history, and was a true champion of the U.S. Merchant Marine. He is recognized throughout the maritime industry as one of its most powerful advocates. Having a modern, U.S.-flag containership dedicated to serving Hawaii bear his name is an appropriate tribute to this great man.”
Matson said the new “Aloha Class” ships will be 850 feet long and will be the largest Jones Act containerships ever constructed.
Aker Philadelphia Shipyard is a leading U.S. commercial shipyard constructing vessels for operation in the Jones Act market, Matson said. The shipyard delivered four newly-built Jones Act containerships for Matson between 2003 and 2006.
The Jones Act requires that cargo moving between U.S. ports travel on ships that are made, owned and crewed by Americans. Hawai’i lawmakers have traditionally defended the act as necessary to ensure the Islands, which depend on imports, have a reliable domestic connection to the Mainland.