Matson Orders Three More Panamax LNG Boxships From Philly Shipyard

Matson aloha class boxship
The Aloha-class boxship Daniel K. Inouye (Matson file image)

Published Nov 2, 2022 5:45 PM by The Maritime Executive

Matson has ordered three more Panamax boxships from Philly Shipyard for use in its trans-Pacific services, which have been a major driver of profitability in recent years. 

As U.S.-built ships, the Aloha-class newbuilds will be qualified for Jones Act cargo carriage between California and Hawaii. Matson says that they will replace three vessels currently serving on Matson's lucrative and popular China-Long Beach Express (CLX) service. The three existing vessels will cascade down to replace three older, smaller vessels currently deployed in Matson's Alaska service.

Matson has done exceptionally well over the past few quarters thanks to the late-pandemic trade boom, and it plans to finance the order with cash from operations and from its Capital Construction Fund, along with debt financing. 

Philly Shipyard has already built two Aloha-class ships for Matson, plus four vessels of an earlier design delivered in 2003-6. Alongside General Dynamics NASSCO, Philly is one of just two shipbuilders in the United States with a recent history of boxship construction, and the new contract with Matson will help extend its orderbook beyond the Maritime Administration's National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) program. 

"It is the ultimate compliment when a former customer returns for another project. We are proud of the six vessels previously delivered to Matson, and are again ready to execute and deliver this important project," said Steinar Nerbovik, Philly Shipyard president and chief executive officer.

At a reported price of roughly $330 million each, the new 3,600 TEU LNG ships will be about twice as expensive as new 24,000 TEU LNG Megamax-24s from South Korea's DSME.