Matson Inc., the biggest ocean cargo company serving Hawaii, suffered a 22 percent drop in profit last year as higher expenses overshadowed revenue growth.
The Honolulu-based firm announced today that it earned $80.5 million in 2016 compared with $103 million the year before.
Matson’s 2015 income was a record, and was achieved despite incurring about $43 million in extraordinary expenses related to a molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor and purchasing Horizon Lines Inc. operations in Alaska.
Not having such big extraordinary expenses benefited Matson’s bottom line last year, but the company had other unusually high expenses that hurt income, including $85 million in ship maintenance that was 83 percent higher than maintenance expenses in 2015.
Other factors that dragged down income for Matson last year included higher fuel costs that won’t be recouped through surcharges until this year, lower freight rates in China and costs from putting more vessels into service during the first half of last year, the company said.
In Hawaii, Matson’s container volume edged up by 0.6 percent to 160,200 last year from 159,200 the year before. The company also delivered 7.4 percent more automobiles in Hawaii — 75,200 last year compared with 70,000 the year before.
The company’s volume in China slipped about 2 percent to 61,600 containers, but surged in Alaska by 61 percent to 68,400 containers because last year was the first full year for Matson serving that state. The company took over operations there from Horizon in May 2015.
Revenue for Matson rose to $1.94 billion last year from $1.88 billion the year before.