Matson raises fuel charge 10%
It is the company's fourth fuel surcharge increase this year
Matson Navigation Co.
plans to hike its fuel surcharge for shipments between Hawaii and the mainland on Aug. 31 to 42.25 percent, its fourth increase this year.
Latest Matson fuel surcharges
» Aug. 31: (Planned) 42.25%
» July 13: 38.25%
» April 6: 33.75%
» Feb.4: 31.5%
Source: Matson Navigation Co.
The state's largest ocean shipper told customers yesterday that the four percentage point hike, a 4 percent-point, from 38.25 percent was due to "fuel-related costs continuing to climb to historic highs."
It also is raising the levy for its Guam/Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Micronesia service by four percentage points, or 10 percent, to 43.75 percent from 39.75 percent the same day. Matson's fuel surcharge was 24 percent in August 2007.
"While record-high fuel prices are adversely impacting virtually all businesses, as well as consumers, transportation companies are particularly hard hit," said Dave Hoppes, senior vice president of ocean services. "Fuel costs comprise a substantial component of Matson's operating costs and are an unavoidable expense for transporting goods."
Matson's increase is still lower than the latest hike by rival Horizon Lines Inc., which will boost its surcharge by 4.5 percentage points -- an 11.8 percent gain -- to a record 42.75 percent on Aug. 17.
Horizon, which typically follows the lead of Matson, canceled a planned surcharge increase in May, two days after Matson declined to raise its fee. A Horizon spokesman didn't return a call for comment on whether the company will pull back its latest round of surcharge hikes.
A spokesman for Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines LLC, whose fuel surcharge is at 37.25 percent, didn't return a call for comment on whether it plans to match the increases.
Matson said its fuel costs have risen 48 percent since April, despite efforts to operate a fuel-efficient fleet and reduce fuel consumption. The ocean carrier said that while there have been signs of stabilization in the world oil market in recent weeks, bunker fuel has not yet been impacted.
To offset escalating fuel prices Matson has slowed the speed of its container ships and temporarily removed one vessel from its Hawaii service. The company has also begun operating four diesel-powered container ships -- its most fuel-efficient vessels -- in its Long Beach/Hawaii/Guam route.