The Kaimana Hila, the sister ship to the Daniel K. Inouye, is expected to enter service in late April.
Matson said that its newest ship, Kaimana Hila, was christened at the Philly Shipyard on Saturday and is expected to enter service late next month. Kaimana Hila is a Hawaiian transliteration for Diamond Head, the name of Hawaii’s iconic landmark volcanic crater near Waikiki Beach.
The new vessel is a sister ship to the Daniel K. Inouye, which was christened in June and went into service in November of 2018.
The two ships were built for Honolulu-based Matson by Philly Shipyard at a total cost of approximately $418 million for the pair and are the first of four new vessels that Matson will put into its Hawaii service during the next 18 months. The other two are being built at General Dyanamic’s NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.
Matt Cox, Matson’s chairman and chief executive officer, said at the shipyard ceremony, “Daniel K. Inouye has performed well in its first four months of service, and we are excited to have Kaimana Hila joining it soon. These new vessels herald the beginning of a new era in our Hawaii service and will allow us to serve our customers better than ever for decades to come.”
Matson invited U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii to officially christen the vessel by breaking a ceremonial bottle of champagne against the ship’s navigation bridge superstructure. The ceremony was attended by about 70 representatives of Matson and the shipyard.
The new ship has a 3,600-TEU capacity. It will be used in a Seattle-Oakland-Honolulu rotation.
Matson will replace four older ships with the two new vessels that have been built in Philadelphia and two that are under construction in San Diego.
One of those older ships, Matsonia, was delayed this month when a crack developed in its hull. The ship was repaired in Alameda, Calif., and is now back in service. Another newer ship, Maunalei, built in 2006 was also damaged in heavy weather and had to be repaired.
That caused delays in some deliveries to Hawaii, but a spokesman for the company said that the company’s vessels are now back on schedule.