First New Matson Con/Ro Makes Maiden Call in Hawaii

Image courtesy General Dynamics NASSCO

Published Jan 20, 2020 9:54 PM by The Maritime Executive

The new American-built con/ro Lurline made her maiden call in Honolulu on Friday, marking a transition in the way that Jones Act carrier Matson operates its West Coast-to-Hawaii service.

Relative to many of Matson's vessels, Lurline is fast, with a top speed of 23 knots. That extra speed will allow the company to drop down from ten ships to nine while keeping cargo volumes the same, according to CEO Matthew Cox.

The higher speed will also give shippers simplicity and predictability: with Lurline and her soon-to-be-delivered sister ship on a 14-day rotation, customers can count on having a Matson vessel at the pier on the same day every week. 

Both of the new Kanaloa-class vessels have an enclosed garage with room for about 500 vehicles, plus additional space for breakbulk and 3,500 TEU in container capacity. With roughly Panamax dimensions and a deadweight of 44,000 tonnes, they are the largest con/ro ships ever built in the United States (and not far behind the largest con/ros in the world, the ACL G4 class). According to Matson, they have an efficient hull design, double-hull fuel tanks, freshwater ballast systems and the first Tier 3 dual-fuel engines for a West Coast container ship. 

The new Lurline is the sixth Matson vessel to bear the name. The original Lurline was Capt. William Matson’s second vessel, a brigantine built by Matthew Turner of Benicia, California in 1887.