As of Feb. 7 they’ll be going up again, with possibly even more increases on the way, Matson Navigation Co. warned yesterday.
The state’s largest ocean shipper said “rapidly rising fuel-related costs” are prompting it to raise its fuel surcharge by 3.5 percentage points to 27.5 percent for its Hawaii- mainland service.
In addition, the state’s largest ocean shipper is boosting its fuel surcharge by 3.5 percentage points to 29 percent for its Guam/Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Micronesia service.
“As many of our customers are aware, fuel prices have risen dramatically in recent months,” said Dave Hoppes, Matson senior vice president, ocean services. “This is the first fuel surcharge increase Matson has initiated since July 2009.”
Matson said that if fuel prices don’t decline soon, it will need to make further upward adjustments.
Horizon Lines, the state’s second-largest ocean shipper, typically matches Matson but could not be reached for comment. Horizon’s surcharge is at 24 percent for its mainland-Hawaii service.
Pasha Hawaii, which carries vehicles between Honolulu and San Diego, is at 22.5 percent.
“We’ve got to review our situation, but fuel is going up,” noted Reggie Maldonado, general manager of Pasha Hawaii.
Matson’s fuel surcharge for Hawaii-mainland service peaked at 42.25 percent on Aug. 31, 2008, before declining six consecutive times and reaching 15 percent on Nov. 30, 2008.
Following that low, its fuel surcharge rose three straight times to reach 28 percent on July 5, 2009, and then dropped 4 percentage points to 24 percent on Oct. 4, 2009, before yesterday’s announcement.
“Unfortunately, in the past several months, fuel costs have increased significantly, necessitating this new upward adjustment,” Hoppes said.
“Fuel costs comprise a significant component of Matson’s operating costs and are an unavoidable expense for transporting goods.”
Last Sunday, Matson’s previously announced higher shipping rates went into effect for its Hawaii-mainland service. The rates were increased an average of 3.8 percent, with rates increasing $120 per westbound container and $60 per eastbound container. Matson also raised its terminal handling charge by $125 per westbound container and $60 per eastbound container.
Horizon raised its rates by a similar amount.