New law removes piers from HCDA territory
Gov. Linda Lingle signed a law yesterday that transfers jurisdiction of Honolulu Harbor's piers 1 and 2 to the state Harbors Division, reserving them for maritime use.
Honolulu Harbor, the major shipment point for most container traffic in and out of the state, has been at the center of a decades-old controversy about how Hawaii's finite waterfront resource should be developed. The piers had been under the control of the state's Hawaii Community Development Authority, which oversees land development in neighboring Kakaako.
Maritime proponents have long argued that Honolulu Harbor should be reserved for cargo shipping, container space and related parking, while the HCDA had favored holistic planning for mixed-use developments designed to meld the waterfront with surrounding community.
The new law, Act 165, calls for the boundaries of the Kakaako development district to exclude piers 1 and 2. This will allow the approximately 21 acres to be reserved for projected growth in cargo requirements and to allow for safe and efficient docking of cargo vessels, said Rep. Anne Stevens (R, Waikiki-Ala Moana). She is a Kakaako resident and former U.S. Coast Guard officer and shipping agent.
At the current rate of growth, the state Harbors Division projects that foreign cargo capacity will be fully used up in five years, she said.
"With a shortage of pier space in Hawaii, we must keep maritime lands for maritime use," Stevens said. "Over 95 percent of Hawaii's cargo arrives by ship and piers 1 and 2 are an integral part of Hawaii's maritime highway."
The new law will ensure that there is enough space to keep cargo flowing, said Randy Grune, president and chief executive of Hawaii Stevedores Inc., which moved 100 ships through Pier 1 last year.
"It's a very busy pier and we have a need to keep that kind of property in the harbor systems inventory," he said. "Under HCDA jurisdiction, the piers could have gone to a non-maritime use."
HCDA officials could not be reached for comment.