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A shift in major cargo shipping companies could mean higher prices for goods in Hawaii. Changes in Hawaii's major cargo shipping companiesHorizon Lines reports that it has recently entered into agreements with The Pasha Group and with Matson, Inc.

As a result of the transactions, The Pasha Group, a third-generation, family-owned business, will acquire Horizon Lines’ Hawaii trade lane business; Horizon’s Hawaii business will operate alongside Pasha’s existing operations, which up to now has represented a small percentage of the shipping volume between the mainland U.S. and Hawaii.

In a separate transaction, Horizon will merge with Matson. Matson, a major operator in Hawaii with over 130 years of shipping experience, will acquire all of Horizon Lines’ business operations, which includes its Alaska operations and the assumption of all non-Hawaii business liabilities.

The three companies say the change will greatly expand the opportunities for shipping between the mainland and Hawaii. Horizon and Matson have been the major competitors in Hawaii. As a result of this merger, Hawaii’s market is reduced from three to two players, giving businesses one less option for shipping. This raises some concerns for businesses in Hawaii.

When mergers take place, businesses expect to see cost savings; cost savings can reduce prices. It’s also possible, though, that the price of goods in Hawaii could increase.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation stated, “The Harbors Division will continue to work with all partners in shipping cargo to and from the islands and remains committed to a diverse shipping marketplace that provides the best possible service and prices for Hawaii consumers.”

It is unknown if this shift in major cargo shipping companies will affect prices for goods in Hawaii as Matson and Pasha now engage as the two major competitors. Competition is good, but good service is needed, too. Both companies, fortunately, have a reputation of bringing good service to the table.

About the author

Lezlie St. Germain

Lezlie was born and raised in Hawaii. A Crown employee for 14 years, she started as a freight coordinator and became Hawaii’s GM in 2006. Lezlie is the 2004 recipient of the Jim and Sadie Thompson Award.

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