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Matson profits big on tax change

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    Matson container ship, Matsonia, moored at Pier 2 in Honolulu Harbor.

Hawaii’s largest ocean cargo shipping company brought in fewer containers to the state last year but generated a lot more profit thanks to the recent federal corporate tax overhaul.

Honolulu-based Matson Inc. announced today that it earned $232 million last year, up from $81 million the year before.

The gain was mainly the result of a $155 million tax benefit generated by federal tax rule changes enacted recently by Congress.

Matson accounted for that windfall in the fourth quarter, during which the company’s profit surged to $167 million from $20 million in the prior year’s fourth quarter.

Container volume between Hawaii and the mainland decreased 7 percent last year for Matson. Other major routes served by the company were mixed, with a 2 percent decline in Alaska and a 7 percent increase in China.

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