Interisle shipping crunch averted
Young Brothers postpones its policy on partial containers
Business groups say they are relieved interisland shipper Young Brothers has postponed its plan to stop accepting shipments that are less than a container load.
"This new development provides welcome breathing space in the effort to move toward a long-term solution," said Warren Watanabe, president of the Maui County Farm Bureau.
Young Brothers and Gov. Linda Lingle made the announcement yesterday at a joint news conference.
Under a memorandum of understanding with the state, Young Brothers has agreed to withdraw its petition before the state Public Utilities Commission, seeking to discontinue its less-than-a-container-load service to and from Kahului on the Valley Isle.
Young Brothers has agreed to continue to accept the less-than-a-container-load service for Hilo and Kahului until 2010 and for Kona, Nawiliwili, Honolulu, Molokai, Lanai and Lihue until at least 2012.
The memorandum also requires that in the future, Young Brothers give 18 months notice to forwarders and shippers before terminating its less-than-container-load service.
In return the state has agreed to provide Young Brothers with additional land and improvements in Kahului, Honolulu, Hilo and Kona.
Young Brothers announced in April its intent to consolidate small amounts of freight for Kahului on Jan. 1, noting that some of its harbor space was being taken by the Hawaii Superferry.
Young Brothers President Glenn Hong said he thinks the agreement allows a longer time to seek solutions.
Lingle said based on public reaction, it became clear that there would be "tremendous hardship" if Young Brothers left the less-than-container-load business.
She said all harbors in the state are facing space constraints because of Hawaii's vibrant economy, and called the agreement a "good conclusion."
"This reassures businesses and individuals that the service will continue across the state," she said.
Lingle said the expansion at Kahului Harbor should not disrupt canoe paddling in the harbor.
She also reiterated her position opposing the requirement of an environmental impact statement study for the Hawaii Superferry.
Lingle said other commercial shipping entities such as cruise ships have not been called upon to provide an environmental impact statement and that the Hawaii Superferry should not be singled out.
Lingle said the state is also working with Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration to acquire land near the small-boat landing to expand Kahului Harbor.
Environmental groups on Maui have opposed the Hawaii Superferry and related harbor improvements, saying they want a more comprehensive plan.
Ron Sturtz, president of Maui Tomorrow, said the harbor expansion for the Superferry is moving forward without looking at the impact on traffic.
"Nothing has been done to mitigate the impact," he said.
Under the agreement, the state would reduce its allocation of space to the Hawaii Superferry in the Puunene yard to provide Young Brothers with more area for cargo handling, and also set aside additional operating space at property owned by Alexander & Baldwin makai of the Maui Mall.
The state is in talks with Alexander & Baldwin about acquiring four acres of land.