What Are Some Facts About the Matson Shipping Company?


Quick Answer

Matson Navigation Company is a subsidiary of Matson Inc., which is a publicly traded company based in Honolulu. It is one of the leading U.S. carriers in the Pacific, providing shipping services mainly to and from Hawaii, but also Guam, Micronesia, South Pacific and China.

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Captain William Matson started the company and its association with Hawaii in 1882, when he sailed his schooner Emma Claudina from San Francisco to Hilo, Hawaii, carrying food, plantation supplies and general merchandise. He subsequently bought or built more sailing vessels. In 1901, he purchased the American steamship Enterprise, the first offshore ship in the Pacific to burn oil instead of coal. At present, the company owns a fleet of 18 vessels including container ships, combination container and roll-on/roll-off ships and custom-designed barges.

The Matson Navigation Company is a major contributor to the development of mass tourism in Hawaii, with the opening of the historic Moana Hotel and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki on the island of Oahu. In addition to that, along with other carriers and local officials, the company is working in developing plans for modernizing the port in Hawaii and upgrading the infrastructure of the port in Guam.

In 2015, Matson acquired Horizon Lines for $469 million. Horizon Lines had been Matson's main competitor in the U.S. market for decades, providing shipping service between Tacoma and Anchorage, Kodiak and Unalaska.

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