Freight Giant Actively Seeking to Hire U.S. Veterans
by Randy Miller, Recruiting Consultant
Founded in 1882 and incorporated in 1901, Matson is one of the leading U.S. domestic ocean carriers. Matson is the principal carrier of containerized freight and automobiles between the U.S. Pacific Coast and Hawaii, Guam and the mid-Pacific.
The company is headquartered in Oakland and also has offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Guam, Hilo (Hawaii), Honolulu, Kahului (Maui), Long Beach, Nawiliwili (Kauai), Ningbo, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Shanghai and Washington, D.C. Matson is reaching out to hire and employ U.S. Veterans for various positons worldwide. To hire the best, they have partnered with HireVeterans.com, America’s premier job board for U.S. Veterans.
Matson has many subsidiaries and worldwide operations.
Matson Integrated Logistics (MIL), a leading provider of multimodal transportation services to the North American market. MIL’s capabilities include domestic intermodal rail service, international intermodal service, long haul and regional highway services, specialized hauling, and international air freight. MIL serves a broad range of customers and industries with customized transportation solutions and award-winning service.
Matson Receives Fifth Consecutive Quest for Quality Award
Matson Navigation Company has been honored for the fifth consecutive year with Logistics Management magazine’s prestigious Quest for Quality award in the Ocean Carrier category. Matson ranked high among all ocean carriers recognized in this year’s reader survey, which rates transportation companies in five key services areas: on-time performance, value, equipment and operations, information technology and customer service.
“The Quest for Quality award is one of the most comprehensive customer satisfaction surveys in the industry,” said Dave Hoppes, senior vice president, ocean services. “We’re very gratified to once again receive such high marks in this nationwide survey. Matson remains committed to providing the highest quality service in all of markets and continues to invest in enhancements, such as new ships, container equipment and information technology, that will ensure we offer the most reliable, responsive and efficient customer service in the Pacific. While Matson conducts its own customer surveys throughout the year to maintain timely and customized feedback, this survey further underscores that our customer-driven efforts are keeping us at the forefront of our industry. Receiving five consecutive Quest for Quality awards is a true honor and fully demonstrates Matson’s solid track record in providing a superior service package for our customers. It also is a very strong reflection of the across-the-board effort by all at Matson in delivering high quality customer service.”
According to the publication, more than 6,500 readers participated in the 24th annual survey. With more than 70,000 subscribers, Logistics Management is one of the most widely read publications by qualified buyers of logistics and transportation services.
Matson is recognized as a leader in Pacific shipping and serves Hawaii, Guam, China and Micronesia. Matson is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. of Honolulu (NASDAQ: ALEX)
Established in 1921, Matson Terminals provides container stevedoring, terminal and equipment maintenance services for Matson and other carriers in Honolulu. Stevedoring Services of America Terminals (SSAT), which is partly owned by Matson, manages the company’s container stevedoring and terminal services in the West Coast ports of Long Beach, Oakland and Seattle. Matson is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. is a diversified corporation with most of its operations centered in Hawaii.
Matson Navigation Company’s long association with Hawaii began in 1882, when Captain William Matson sailed his three-masted schooner Emma Claudina from San Francisco to Hilo, Hawaii, carrying 300 tons of food, plantation supplies and general merchandise. That voyage launched a company that has been involved in such diversified interests as oil exploration, hotels and tourism, military service during two world wars and even briefly, the airline business. Matson’s primary interest throughout, however, has been carrying freight between the Pacific Coast and Hawaii.
In 1887, Captain Matson sold the Emma Claudina and acquired the brigantine Lurline, which more than doubled the former vessel’s carrying capacity. As the Matson fleet expanded, new vessels introduced some dramatic maritime innovations. The bark Rhoderick Dhu was the first ship to have a cold storage plant and electric lights. The first Matson steamship, the Enterprise, was the first offshore ship in the Pacific to burn oil instead of coal.
Development of Tourism
Increased commerce brought a corresponding interest in Hawaii as a tourist attraction. The second Lurline, with accommodations for 51 passengers, joined the fleet in 1908. The 146-passenger ship S.S. Wilhelmina followed in 1910, rivaling the finest passenger ships serving the Atlantic routes. More steamships continued to join the fleet. When Captain Matson died in 1917 at 67, the Matson fleet comprised 14 of the largest, fastest and most modern ships in the Pacific passenger-freight service. When World War I broke out, most of the Matson fleet was requisitioned by the government as troopships and military cargo carriers. Other Matson vessels continued to serve Hawaii’s needs throughout the war. After the war, Matson ships reverted to civilian duty and the steamers SSs Manulani and Manukai were added to the fleet – the largest freighters in the Pacific at that time.
The decade from the mid-20s to mid-30s marked a significant period of Matson expansion. In 1925, the Company established Matson Terminals, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary, to perform stevedoring and terminal services for its fleet. With increasing passenger traffic to Hawaii, Matson added the S.S. Malolo in 1927. The Malolo was the fastest ship in the Pacific, cruising at 22 knots. Its success led to the construction of the liners Mariposa, Monterey and Lurline between 1930 and 1932.
Immediately after the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the passenger liners Lurline, Matsonia, Mariposa and Monterey, and 33 Matson freighters were called to military service. The four passenger liners completed a wartime total of 119 voyages, covered 1 1/2 million miles and carried a total of 736,000 troops. The post-war period for Matson was somewhat difficult. The expense of restoration work proved to be very costly and necessitated the sale of the Mariposa and Monterey, still in wartime gray. In 1948, the Lurline returned to service after a $20 million reconversion. Two new Matson hotels were built on Waikiki in the 1950s, the SurfRider in 1951 and the Princess Kaiulani in 1955. In 1955, Matson undertook a $60 million shipbuilding program which produced the South Pacific liners Mariposa and Monterey, and the rebuilt wartime Monterey was renamed Matsonia and entered the Pacific Coast – Hawaii service.
Introducing Containerization in the Pacific
In 1956, a research department was established and its first major assignment was to develop the most modern, efficient and economical means of transporting cargo to and from Hawaii. The result was Matson’s freight containerization program, which revolutionized Pacific cargo carrying. In 1958, Matson’s S.S. Hawaiian Merchant departed San Francisco Bay carrying 20 containers on deck, inaugurating containerization in the Pacific. When the Hawaiian Citizen entered service in April 1960, with a capacity for 436 24-foot containers, it was the first all-container carrier in the Pacific service. The fleet improvement program continued, with Matson freighters converted to combination container and bulk sugar or to container and automobile carriers.
With the focus on containerization growing, Matson divested itself of all non-shipping assets, including its Waikiki hotels, which were sold to the Sheraton Corporation in 1959.
A major ship construction program was undertaken in the late 1960s. When the S.S. Hawaiian Enterprise (later named Manukai) entered service in March 1970, it carried a record load of 1,165 containers and clipped more than a day from the regular 5 1/2 day run from the mainland to Hawaii. Also in 1970, in line with the decision to concentrate on its Pacific Coast-Hawaii freight service, Matson sold its passenger vessels and suspended its Far East service.
In 1969, Matson became a wholly owned subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin, Inc., strengthening the business ties that formally date back to 1908, when A&B invested $200,000 to acquire a minority interest in Captain Matson’s company.
Building a Service Designed to Meet a Growing Hawaii Economy
With the focus sharpened, Matson concentrated its efforts on developing a fleet of the finest containerships in the Pacific Coast – Hawaii service and on modernizing and otherwise improving terminal operations. This effort resulted in the construction of the containerships Manulani, Manukai, Maui, Kauai, and the ro-ro vessels Lurline and Matsonia. In 1985, two unique container barges, the Haleakala and Mauna Loa, were introduced to Matson’s Neighbor Island fleet. In 1991, the ro-ro Neighbor Island barge, Waialeale, was constructed and added to Matson’s Neighbor Island Service and in 1992, the diesel-powered containership MV R. J. Pfeiffer was added to the fleet.
Equally important, Matson focused on developing an industry-leading Customer Support Center in the 1990s, providing customers with one call does it all customer service. That effort resulted in the creation of a Customer Support Center in Phoenix in 1995. The philosophy behind centralized customer service was extended to the Internet in subsequent years, allowing customers to have the same ease of use in doing business with Matson online as they had with dedicated customer service teams.
In February 1996, Matson and APL inaugurated a 10-year alliance agreement which allowed both carriers to cost effectively serve their respective markets; for Matson, this involved the domestic trade of Guam – Micronesia and for APL, international ports in the Far East. The most prominent aspect of the agreement for Matson involved the purchase of six APL container ships and certain APL-owned assets in Guam for $164 million. The agreement was revised in January 1998; for Matson, the primary benefit of the revised agreement involved the establishment of a direct service from the U.S. Mainland to Guam, reducing transit time from 13 to 10 days.
Two new diesel-powered containerships, MVs Manukai and Maunawili, were introduced to the fleet in 2003 and 2004, respectively.
In 1987, Matson formed Matson Intermodal System, Inc. as an intermodal marketing company (IMC) arranging North American rail and truck transportation for shippers and carriers. The company grew steadily through the 90s and gained industry recognition as one of the nation’s leading IMCs. In 2003, the company was renamed Matson Integrated Logistics in recognition of its continued growth and expanded service offerings.
In 1999, Matson and Stevedoring Services of America, Inc. (SSA) appointed SSA Terminals as the manager of terminal and stevedore operations at Matson Terminals, Inc.’s facilities on the West Coast. MTI continues to operate Matson’s container stevedoring and terminal services in Honolulu.
In 2000, Matson Terminals, Inc. in Honolulu commenced with a $36 million terminal improvement project, which involved converting the facility to a wheeled facility and adding new computer technology, such as Digital Global Positioning Systems (DGPS), to improve overall operating efficiencies.