Friday, May 4, 2001

Matson said it is the only shipping line left in the Hawaii
trade that loads containers with less-than-container-
load shipments.

Matson to
close container
freight stations

Few have been using the
service that combines
small shipments

By Russ Lynch

Matson Navigation Co. is getting out of a 40-year-old part of its business, packing small amounts of freight into containers for small shippers who move less than a container-load at a time.

The volume from these small shippers has fallen over the years to a very low level and those shippers should not be inconvenienced because there are plenty of freight forwarders on the West Coast and in Hawaii willing to do the same work, says a Matson spokesman. The forwarders and consolidators are already handling the majority of that type of work.

Matson will close its container freight stations, starting with the one in Los Angeles, which will shut down May 19. All the others, including those in Honolulu and on the neighbor islands, will close June 2.

Jeff Hull, a Matson spokesman in San Francisco, said the change will have a minimal impact on personnel.

Only a handful of workers are involved in container freight station operations and they work only on weekday mornings, he said.

Growth of other freight business, such as carrying automobiles between the West Coast and Hawaii, will keep them busy, Hull said.

Matson said it is the only shipping line left in the Hawaii trade that loads containers with less-than-container-load shipments for clients.

Matson's decision might mean a small windfall for freight forwarders, said Galen Kitamura, regional manager of Hawaiian Express Service Inc., a freight consolidation company.

But Matson had already let its apparently unprofitable operation dwindle and assigned most of the workers to other jobs, Kitamura said.

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