Matson Raises Fuel Surcharge

Maritime carrier Matson Navigation announced it would raise its fuel surcharge on Hawaii, Guam, and Micronesia services effective July 13, 2008.

With fuel and related costs reaching historical highs, Matson Navigation Company is raising its fuel surcharge for Hawaii service by 4.5 percentage points from 33.75% to 38.25%, the company reported. Guam and Micronesia services will see a 6-point increase from 33.75% to 39.75%.

This is the first adjustment Matson has made to its fuel surcharge since April 6, 2008, according to the company.

“While Matson has traditionally applied the same percentage fuel surcharge to all of its Pacific service, it is implementing a new program that recognizes that there are greater fuel requirements in serving the more geographically remote regions of Guam and Micronesia,” said the Matson announcement.

Matson notes it has also explored methods to maximize fuel efficiency. These include slowing speeds of containerships where they do not adversely affect schedule reliability and temporarily removing one vessel from its Hawaii service. Though this required triangulating one ship every other week between Oakland, Long Beach and Honolulu, the resulting savings helped delay implementation of surcharge increases. It did have some effect on service to northern California customers, Matson noted.

“Escalating fuel prices have hit levels that are unprecedented and are adversely impacting virtually all businesses, as well as consumers,” said Dave Hoppes, senior vice president of ocean services. “For transportation companies, fuel related expenses are unavoidable. Matson has been successful in implementing a number of initiatives designed to reduce fuel consumption, allowing the company to operate the most fuel-efficient fleet possible. Unfortunately, the extraordinarily dramatic spikes in fuel prices experienced recently require this new adjustment,” said Hoppes. “In the past month, Matson's fuel costs have risen 27%. Overall, fuel costs have increased 38% since the last fuel surcharge adjustment became effective on April 6,” he added.

Matson did not rule out future adjustments to its fuel surcharge.

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