Matson raises fuel fee for 7th time
The cost of shipping goods between Hawaii and the mainland is going up -- again.
Matson Navigation Co. said yesterday it was boosting its fuel surcharge 2.25 percentage points to yet another record -- 33.75 percent.
Shipping a car, for example, will now cost $1,072, up from $1,055, when the new surcharge goes into effect on April 6 for the company's Hawaii, Guam/ Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and Micronesia services.
The fuel-surcharge increase from 31.5 percent marks the seventh straight time Matson has raised that fee since it was lowered to 17.5 percent on Jan. 28, 2007.
"Fuel-related expenses remain a major cost component for Matson, as well as other transportation companies," said Dave Hoppes, senior vice president, ocean services, for Matson. "Since our last increase was announced in early January, fuel prices have continued to be adversely affected by unprecedented demands for oil in the world market."
Rival Horizon Lines, which typically matches Matson's surcharges and is currently at 31.5 percent, said it is reviewing the latest increase. Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines, which transports vehicles between Hawaii and San Diego, is currently at 29 percent and also said it would review Matson's move.
Matson spokesman Jeff Hull said the increase reflects the current trend of bunker fuel and that the company is still recovering from past increases as well as positioning itself for the future
"We're experiencing the same trends in bunker fuel as you're reading about in crude oil," he said.
Crude oil set new inflation-adjusted records four times this week, and has risen 23 percent in less than a month. Light, sweet crude for April delivery fell 32 cents yesterday to settle at $105.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
But while analysts expect oil's underlying supply and demand fundamentals to eventually pull down its price, few are willing to predict when that will happen.
Meanwhile, oil could continue rising to as high as $120 in the short term, according to some forecasts.
The Associated Press contributed to this article