The Port of Long Beach recently welcomed the Daniel K. Inouye (DKI), the largest container ship ever built in the U.S. The vessel is named in honor of the late U.S. senator, a decorated U.S. Army veteran who represented Hawaii for more than 50 years and was an ardent supporter of the U.S. maritime industry.
The first of four new ships the Honolulu-based carrier is adding to its fleet, the DKI was officially introduced to employees and customers at a special reception at the Matson/SSA Terminal at Pier C held Jan. 18.
Weighing more than 51,400 metric tons, the 850-foot long vessel is Matson’s largest and fastest ship, with a 3,600-TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) capacity and a top speed of nearly 24 knots.
The new vessel also incorporates green ship technology, including a more fuel-efficient hull design, dual fuel engines that can be adapted to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), and fresh water ballast systems.
“These new ships are the future for Hawaii shipping and will bring a new level of efficiency and reliability to our service,” said Matt Cox, Matson’s chairman and chief executive officer. “The substantial investment in new technology underscores Matson’s long-term commitment to Hawaii and our desire to serve the Islands in the most advanced, environmentally friendly way for years to come.”
Port Executive Director Mario Cordero welcomed the ship on behalf of the Port.
“The addition of this ship to Matson’s fleet is a prime example of the operational excellence and leadership in sustainability we and our partners are striving for as we transition to a zero-emissions supply,” Cordero said. “We look forward to the many calls the Daniel K. Inouye will be making in Long Beach in the years ahead.”
The DKI is one of two “Aloha Class” vessels Matson is introducing to its Hawaii-West Coast service under a $1 billion modernization program. Construction of the second ship, the Kaimana Hila, is due to be completed in the first quarter of 2019. The shipbuilder is Philly Shipyard in Philadelphia.
The third and fourth new vessels entering the Matson fleet are the Lurline, due to be completed in late 2019, and the Matsonia, due to be completed in mid-2020. Both are “Kanaloa Class” container/ro-ro (roll-on, roll-off) ships being built by General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego. The pair will be the first vessels powered by Tier 3 engines, the cleanest technology available, to call on the West Coast.
All four ships will replace diesel-powered vessels moving to reserve status. Additionally, Matson is upgrading and expanding its Sand Island Terminal in Honolulu Harbor under its modernization program.