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Cargo Shipments Resume Following Near-Miss Hurricane

Tony Webster
Damage to a port facility is considered a major risk to Hawaii during severe weather events. All inbound cargo to the state transits through the Port of Honolulu.

The U.S. Coast Guard declared “Condition Zulu” and closed port facilities across the state over the weekend.

Ports on Hawaii Island were closed Saturday night, while those on other islands were shuttered Sunday morning, as Douglas took a course that brought the Category 1 storm within 50 miles of the main Hawaiian Islands.

Port closures are typical when severe weather approaches and shipping companies have a well-rehearsed drill for responding. Container ships are usually sent out to sea, far from the path of a hurricane.

That is considered a much safer alternative than riding out the storm in port, where both vessels and port infrastructure can be damaged by high winds and storm surge.

Matson, Hawaii’s critical link to the mainland, diverted inbound vessels around the storm and had them ready to resume operations as soon as ports reopened Monday morning. The company also loaded two neighbor island barges with supplies, to be ready for immediate delivery following the storm.

Inter-island shipper Young Brothers said it cancelled all Monday deliveries and would be adjusting its sailing schedule over the coming two weeks to make up for the disruption.

Pasha, which among other cargo moves vehicles in between the islands, said its dockworkers from Hawaii Stevedores, Inc. were back at work under normal hours yesterday morning.

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