Matson Launches Second Large Con-Ro at NASSCO Shipyard

Matson's new ship Matsonia was christened and launched in California
Matsonia ready for het recent christening and launching - courtesy Matson

Published Jul 6, 2020 7:52 PM by The Maritime Executive

Matson and General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard celebrated the christened of one of the largest combination container/roll-on, roll-off ("con-ro") ships ever built in the United States. Named the Matsonia, and the second of two Kanaloa Class vessels, the ceremonies took place on July 2, 2020, at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, California.      

The new Matsonia is the second of two new ships being built for Honolulu-based Matson by NASSCO at a total cost of approximately $500 million for the pair which was built on a 3,500 TEU vessel platform. The Matsonia will also be the fourth of four new vessels that Matson will have put into service between 2018 and 2020.  

At 870 feet in length, a beam of 114 feet wide, and a deep draft of 38 feet, the Matsonia is over 50,000 metric tons and joins the Lurline as Matson's largest ships and the largest con-ro vessels ever constructed in the U.S. They are also among Matson's fastest vessels, with a top speed of 23 knots operating between Hawaii and the West Coast terminals in Seattle, Oakland and Long Beach.  

"Matson is already benefiting from the speed, capacity, and improved environmental profile of the three new ships we've put into service since 2018," said Matt Cox, Matson's chairman and chief executive officer, after the shipyard ceremony. "Matsonia will be our fourth new ship, completing a three-year fleet renewal program that positions us well to serve the needs of our communities in Hawaii for many years to come." 

Both new Kanaloa Class vessels have an enclosed garage with room for approximately 500 vehicles, plus space for rolling stock and breakbulk cargo. They also feature state-of-the-art green technology, including a fuel-efficient hull design, environmentally safe double hull fuel tanks, fresh water ballast systems, and the first Tier 3 dual-fuel engines to be deployed in containerships regularly serving West Coast ports.  

Under the latest International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirements for engine manufacturers, Tier 3 engines reduce the levels of particulate emissions by 40 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 20 percent, as compared to Tier 2 standards. Matson's deployment of Tier 3 engines in both Kanaloa Class vessels is supported by California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities. 

"As a proud U.S. company and Jones Act carrier, our investment in this new ship is about much more than maintaining a high level of service to Hawaii. It also helps drive substantial economic benefits in and opportunities in communities around the Pacific, where this vessel will operate," Cox said. 

According to Matson and NASSCO, over 2,000 people were employed during the year that the ship has been under construction. Over its expected lifespan, this ship will generate approximately 4.5 million man-hours of work for the U.S. mariners. 

The name Matsonia is an iconic name in Matson's history, dating to the construction of Matson's first ship of that name in 1912. In the 1930s and again in the 1950s and 1960s, the name was used on Matson’s passenger ships. The new Matsonia is the fifth vessel to carry the name for the company. Matson invited Peggy Forest, wife of Matson's President Ron Forest, to christen the vessel by breaking a ceremonial bottle of champagne against the ship's hull.  

The Matsonia was launched into San Diego Bay and then docked at NASSCO's nearby testing and trials berth, where the final stages of construction will be completed. Matson expects to take delivery of the vessel in the fourth quarter of 2020.