American Shipper

MATSON’ OPERATING INCOME DROPS 21% IN SECOND QUARTER

MATSON’ OPERATING INCOME DROPS 21% IN SECOND QUARTER

   Matson Navigation, the U.S. domestic shipping line, suffered a 21-percent fall in its operating income in the second quarter, to $14.8 million.

   Alexander & Baldwin, Inc., the parent company of Matson, said that the decrease in operating profit resulted primarily from “continuing unfavorable year-to-year comparisons in stevedoring performance at the Sand Island terminal in Honolulu, offset to some extent by lower expenses from operating seven ships in the Hawaii trade, versus eight a year ago.”

   The quarter’s results, however, were better than Matson’s operating profit in the first quarter of $2.5 million.

   Ocean transportation revenue in the second quarter reached $223.1 million, up from $203.2 million a year ago.

      Second quarter 2002 Hawaii container volume was 7 percent higher than in the second quarter of 2001; automobile volume was 8 percent lower.

   The improvement in container volume was due to a combination of contract-carriage volume and apparent strengthening in some segments of Hawaii’s economy, Alexander & Baldwin said. The company said that this marked the first quarterly increase in Matson’s westbound Hawaii container volume since the events of Sept. 11.

   The increase in freight volume was partly attributable to

shipments made in advance of the July 1 expiration date of the U.S. West Coast ports’ longshore contract.

   In the first half of the year, Matson’s operating profit fell by 52 percent, to $17.3 million. The decrease resulted primarily from post-Sept. 11 economic effects and from lower productivity at the Sand Island terminal in Hawaii, the company said.

   Ocean transportation revenue in the first half of the year was $415.8 million, up from $399.8 million in the corresponding period of 2001.

      Alexander & Baldwin said that contract negotiations with longshore labor now taking place on the U.S. West Coast and in Hawaii represented potential “challenge to earnings growth.”