Philly Shipyard in Talks on Jones Act Boxships

US-based Philly Shipyard, Inc. (PSI) is in advanced talks with a Jones Act operator to establish a new shipping service in the Hawaii containership trade with up to four new vessels.

The containership trade between the US mainland and Hawaii is currently serviced by only two carriers and is reliant in part on a group of near end-of-life steamships.

Under the talks with the undisclosed US shipping operator, PSI said it aims to establish a new, financially strong carrier with a fleet of modern vessels to support commerce between the US West Coast and Hawaii.

The shipyard said that it has initiated the construction of the new cost-effective and environmentally friendly containerships with deliveries in 2020 and 2021.

Additionally, indicative terms have been issued by a maritime leasing company for a bareboat charter structure to finance the purchase of these vessels.

“We are excited to get started on building a new fleet of containerships for a new carrier in the Hawaii trade,” Steinar Nerbovik, Philly Shipyard’s President & CEO, said.

When strict MARPOL/ECA emissions regulations take effect in 2020, several of the older steam powered vessels serving the Hawaii trade route today will be out of compliance without substantial, costly modifications. Even if these aging steamships are modified, they would be less reliable and carry significantly higher operating costs than modern vessels in areas such as fuel consumption and manning and maintenance requirements, according to the shipyard.

PSI believes these circumstances create an opportunity for a new Jones Act carrier to enter the Hawaii containership trade with a fleet of cost-efficient and eco-friendly container vessels built by PSI.

These containerships will be the direct continuation of the series of two similar 3,600 TEU Aloha class containerships with expected deliveries in 2018 and 2019 that PSI is presently constructing for the Hawaii trade.