Matson holding surcharge steady
The ocean shipper says it has found other ways to cut fuel costs
In an unusual decision amid soaring oil prices, one of Hawaii's ocean shippers said yesterday it has decided against following a rival's lead in raising fuel surcharges.
Matson Navigation Co. said yesterday it plans to keep its fuel surcharge steady at the current 33.75 percent -- at least for the time being.
The decision comes in the wake of rival Horizon Lines' May 9 announcement that it planned to increase its fuel surcharge by 1.5 percentage points, from 33.75 percent to 35.25 percent, beginning June 8.
Matson spokesman Jeff Hull told the Star-Bulletin that the company has been successful in implementing a number of initiatives designed to reduce fuel consumption in its fleet.
For instance, Matson has slowed the speed of its container ships without adversely impacting its schedule, and temporarily removed one vessel from its Hawaii service to meet current market conditions.
Hull said doing so resulted in only minor service changes for northern California customers. One ship travels a triangular route every other week between Oakland, Long Beach and Honolulu.
A spokesperson for Horizon Lines did not return calls for comment yesterday on Matson's decision not to raise its rates this time around.
In April, Horizon followed Matson's lead by boosting its fuel surcharge 2.25 percentage points to 33.75 percent for ocean shipments between the mainland and Hawaii, Guam and Micronesia.
That was the seventh straight increase for both shippers since their fuel surcharge was lowered to 17.5 percent in January 2007.
Matson yesterday declined to rule out raising its fuel surcharge in coming months.
The shipper will continue to monitor its fuel costs and related consumption, according to Hull.