Matson Inc. had significantly lighter container loads and profit in the third quarter as business slumped in Hawaii, Alaska, China and Guam.
The Honolulu-based ocean cargo transportation firm reported today that it made $25 million in income during the July-September period, down 40 percent from $41.5 million in the same period last year.
The biggest drop in Matson’s business happened in Alaska as the result of energy and seafood industry changes, though Hawaii cargo shipments experienced what the company described as an unexpected lull.
“Matson’s third-quarter results came in below our expectations,” Matt Cox, company president and CEO, said in a statement. “In Hawaii, there was a lull in container volume following healthy market growth in the first half of the year.”
Revenue for the quarter totaled $500 million, down 8 percent from $544 million in the same period last year.
In Hawaii, which is Matson’s biggest market, the company carried 40,500 containers in the third quarter, down 8 percent from 44,000 containers a year earlier.
Matson also carried slightly fewer automobiles in its Hawaii service — 17,700 in the recent quarter compared with 17,800 a year earlier.
The company said the decrease in Hawaii container volume was primarily due to an extraordinary benefit it captured last year when competitor Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines lost significant business because of mechanical trouble with one ship at sea that led Pasha to reconfigure its service.
“Despite the lull in market volumes during the third quarter 2016, the company continues to believe that the Hawaii economy is healthy and expects construction activity to support market growth in the future,” Matson said.
In Alaska, Matson cargo volume fell 10.7 percent to 18,300 containers in the third quarter compared with 20,500 a year earlier.
Matson began serving this market from the West Coast last year when it purchased the Alaska operations of former competitor Horizon Lines Inc. Matson noted that its 2015 third-quarter profit was negatively impacted by $10 million of expenses related to the Horizon acquisition that it had not expected.
In China, Matson carried 16,300 containers in the third quarter, down 3 percent from 16,800 a year earlier.
Guam service declined 4.6 percent to 6,200 containers from 6,500 containers in the same comparable period. Matson said the modest drop in Guam was due to a competitor starting service in January and taking back some market share after Horizon quit serving Guam in 2011.
The only area of service where Matson had more business was in the Micronesia/South Pacific region where the company delivered 2,700 containers in the third quarter, up 12.5 percent from 2,400 containers a year earlier.