Matson to splash $1 billion on three LNG-powered containerships

US shipping firm Matson said it had ordered three new 3,600-teu LNG-powered Aloha Class containerships at compatriot Philly Shipyard for about $1 billion.

Matson’s unit Matson Navigation would take delivery of these Jones Act compliant vessels in the fourth quarter of 2026 with subsequent deliveries in 2027, according to a statement.

The new vessels will join two Aloha Class ships previously built for Matson by Philly Shipyard that entered service in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Like their sisterships, the new vessels will have dual-fuel engines that can operate on either conventional marine fuels or LNG.

According to Matson the vessel would also feature other “green ship technology” features, such as a fuel-efficient hull design and double hull fuel tanks and freshwater ballast systems.

While the earlier ships require some modification to operate with LNG, Philly Shipyard would deliver these new ships as LNG-ready, it said.

China-Long Beach

Matson claims the 854-foot (260 meters) Aloha Class vessels are the largest containerships ever built in the US. They can operate at speeds in excess of 23 knots.

These vessels will replace three ships currently deployed in Matson’s China-Long Beach Express (CLX) service, which will in turn replace three older vessels currently deployed in its Alaska service, redeploying bigger and faster vessels into that trade lane.

Matson expects to finance the new vessels with cash currently in the capital construction fund and through cash flows from operations, borrowings available under the company’s unsecured revolving credit facility and additional debt financings.

The shipping firm has set corporate goals to achieve a 40 percent reduction in Scope 1 greenhouse gas (GHG) fleet emissions by 2030 and net-zero Scope 1 GHG emissions by 2050.

In June this year, Germany’s MAN Energy Solutions won a contract from Matson Navigation to retrofit the main engine of the 3,600-teu LNG-ready, Daniel K. Inouye, built in 2018 by Philly Shipyard, to be able to use LNG as fuel.

Matson said at the time that it planned LNG installations for its other vessels as well as ordering three new LNG-ready Aloha Class vessels for the CLX.

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