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Largest US-built containership arrives in Honolulu Harbor

HONOLULU (AP) — The largest containership ever built in the U.S. has arrived in Honolulu Harbor after three years of construction.

The 850-foot vessel, named after the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, reached Hawaii on Wednesday following its maiden voyage from Philadelphia to California this month.

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The vessel is the largest operated by Honolulu-based Matson. The Inouye will join the company’s fleet of 10 ships currently serving the state.

The roughly $210 million ship can carry the equivalent of 3,600 20-foot containers. The largest of Matson’s older ships can carry 2,824 containers.

The Inouye is the first of four new ships Matson has ordered in recent years. Its second new vessel named Kaimana Hila is under construction at Philly Shipyard. The similar vessel is expected to be completed by March.

The second two new vessels under construction in San Diego will be 870 feet. They’re expected to be delivered in late 2019 and late 2020.

“These new ships are the future for Hawaii shipping and will bring a new level of efficiency and reliability to our service,” Matson chairman and CEO Matt Cox said in a statement.

The company is planning to operate its Hawaii service with nine ships after the third new ship becomes operational. Matson expects about $30 million each year on ship operating expenses by that move.

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When all four ships enter service, Matson plans to retire seven steam-powered ships built between 1971 and 1980.

“The substantial investment in new technology underscores Matson’s long-term commitment to Hawaii and our desire to serve the islands in the most advanced, environmentally-friendly way for years to come,” Cox said.