Jacksonville, Fla.-based ocean carrier TOTE Maritime said that a technical review of Piers 1 and 2 in Honolulu Harbor showed that significant improvements and upgrades would be required to accommodate the new operations.
Jacksonville, Fla.-based TOTE Maritime, which announced last August that it intends to establish a new domestic shipping service from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii, is putting the plan on hold indefinitely due to the troubling results of a technical review.
The company, which is a subsidiary of Seattle-based transportation firm Saltchuk, revealed Friday that the results of the first phase of its technical review of Piers 1 and 2 in Honolulu Harbor show that significant improvements and upgrades would be required to accommodate the new operations.
The Hawaii Department of Transportation had earmarked for TOTE access to Honolulu Piers 1 and 2 last September, as well as exclusive use of an adjacent 45 acres beginning in 2020, coinciding with TOTE’s planned service to Hawaii.
Philly Shipyard said last June that it had already begun construction of four containerships for TOTE, which were to be the continuation of the series of two similar 850-foot, 3,600-TEU “Aloha Class” containerships under construction at the shipyard for Matson Navigation’s Hawaii trade-lane.
“Due to the scope and timing of the upgrades and improvements, TOTE will not renew the letter of intent with Philly Shipyard that expires on Jan. 31, 2018,” TOTE explained in a prepared statement. “TOTE continues to be open to working with the Hawaii Department of Transportation to update plans and a timeline for access to a Honolulu deepwater terminal that would allow commencement of TOTE’s service to Hawaii.”
TOTE has admitted that construction of the new ships and a commitment for terminal space in Honolulu are critical for the new venture to move forward.
The Hawaii-Mainland trade route is currently serviced by two carriers, Pasha Group and Matson Navigation.
Philly Shipyard last year explained its rationale for launching the Hawaii-to-Mainland trade venture by saying that the current carriers in the region are reliant in part on a group of near end-of-life steamships, and that when stricter new MARPOL/ECA emissions regulations take effect in 2020, several of the older steam powered vessels now serving the route will be out of compliance.
Therefore, the company said, the circumstances provided an opportunity for a new Jones Act carrier to enter the Hawaii containership trade. Unless new ships enter the Hawaii trade route starting in 2020, local commerce could be adversely impacted by the new emissions standards, the shipyard explained at the time.