Horizon makes offer for Hawaii Stevedores
The company says they plan no big changes for the longshoremen
Competition between the state's shipping companies might have a new dynamic, as Horizon Lines makes a move to purchase Hawaii Stevedores Inc., one of the state's largest operations for loading and unloading of sea cargo.
Horizon, the state's second-largest ocean shipper, has signed a letter of intent to purchase Honolulu-based HSI for an undisclosed price. The deal is expected to close by the end of June.
HSI will continue to operate under the same name and service its current clients, which include Norwegian Cruise Line, Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line), Hawaiian Cement and auto shipper Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines.
HSI's major competitor -- McCabe, Hamilton & Renny Co. Ltd. -- primarily services Matson Navigation Co., which already has a Big Island stevedore subsidiary.
Horizon Lines Inc. is buying Hawaii Stevedores Inc., giving Hawaii's second-largest ocean shipper control of one of the state's largest operations for loading and unloading of sea cargo.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed, although Horizon has signed a letter of intent and is doing its due diligence. The deal is expected to close by the end of June.
Honolulu-based Hawaii Stevedores Inc. -- or HSI -- will remain a stand-alone company and retain its name, according to Horizon Lines spokesman Ku'uhaku Park.
HSI, a full-service provider of stevedoring and marine terminal services in Hawaii with about 300 employees, would be Horizon's first wholly owned stevedore subsidiary.
"Our intention is to keep it as a stand-alone company so nothing will change except the ownership," he said. "As of right now it will stay in status quo. They won't be precluded from working with other companies."
Its clients include Norwegian Cruise Line, Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line), Hawaiian Cement and auto shipper Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines.
Park said Horizon will continue to contract out to HSI as well as make direct hires for stevedoring services.
HSI has a long, somewhat complicated history.
Its founding organization dates back to 1922, when it was recognized as Matson Terminal. In 1936 its assets were acquired by Castle & Cooke Terminals Ltd.
For the next 48 years, it was part of Castle & Cooke until 1984, when a group of Terminals' employees purchased the company, changing the name to Hawaii Stevedores Inc.
Tim Guard, president of competitor McCabe, Hamilton & Renny Co. Ltd., said the acquisition is of little concern for his company, which turns 107 in June.
McCabe contracts primarily with Matson Navigation Co.
"Whether it sparks a trend is difficult at this point to really determine," said Guard. "I believe it will generally be business as usual. ... We're rather pleased, in a way. It leaves us in the enviable position of being the only independent stevedore company in the state."
He said McCabe, with about 375 employees including Maui and Kauai, is considerably larger than HSI in size and volume of work.
Matson representatives could not be reached for comment.
Matson has its own stevedoring subsidiary. In 2005 it acquired certain assets of HT&T Stevedoring, whose 39 employees transferred to a new division called Big Island Stevedores.
HT&T was formerly a division of Brewer Environmental Industries LLC, providing stevedoring in Hilo and Kawaihae.
Both Horizon and HSI cited strategic synergies, cost savings, employee stability and operational efficiencies as motivating factors for Horizon's acquisition.
"We have enjoyed a great relationship with HSI and believe this move will place both companies in the best position to grow with the Hawaiian markets," said Mar Labrador, vice president and general manager of Horizon's Hawaii and Micronesia division. "We look forward to retaining the existing staff so we can continue to offer the quality of performance our trade has come to expect."
Horizon Lines operates 16 U.S.-flagged vessels on routes linking the mainland U.S. with Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and Puerto Rico.
HSI President and CEO Randy Grune said, "HSI has a long history of outstanding service, and coupled with the resources and strengths of Horizon Lines, we can create the best choice for stevedoring in Hawaii."