Largest Honolulu Harbor Expansion Project in State History Starts

Jan 16, 2018

A groundbreaking ceremony was conducted for the new Kapalama Container Terminal.
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

A groundbreaking ceremony was conducted today for the largest expansion of Honolulu Harbor in the state’s history. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

Governor David Ige (center) with House Transportation Committee chair, Henry Aquino (left0 and Senate Transportation Committee chair, Lorraine Inouye.
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

Ninety Eight percent of Hawai’i’s imported food and dry goods flow through the state’s Harbor System.  The addition of an 84 acre container yard at the old Kapalama Military Reservation will improve efficiency and increase capacity.  Governor David Ige.  

“Cars, building materials, construction equipment, toilet paper, water, most of the daily necessities that are critical to our community come through our harbors.”

The Kapalama Container Terminal will also include berthing space for  

two 900-foot container ships.  Hawai’i Harbors Users Group executive director, Gary North, says the 23-member organization has been waiting for more than

a decade for this groundbreaking ceremony.

ILWU international vice president, Wesley Furtado (left) and Hawai'i Harbors Users Group (HUGS) executive director, Gary North
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

“This new terminal will allow Pasha to spread their operation out and will allow Matson to spread their operation out and they can process cargo quicker and keep trucks off the street because they can deliver things early in the morning.  It’s also gonna provide the neighbor islands with better service because of being able to get the barges out of here faster.”

The 84 acre container yard also includes a new berthing area that can accommodate two 900-foot container ships
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

North says the larger container yard and berthing area will decrease costs for the operators who must now move cargo around within the overcrowded and congested space.  International Longshore and Warehouse Union vice president, Wesley Furtado, says safety has been a concern for the 900 longshoremen at Honolulu Harbor.

“Yeah, It will make it safer and more efficient, yeah.  Right now at Pier 51 it’s real congested.  We’re using big machinery, maneuvering in the yard stacking containers five high.  And you got truck drivers coming in and you gotta load them.  And you’re working against the ship.  So it slows down the operation.”

The two-phase construction project is estimated to cost 448 million dollars…and is scheduled for completion in four years.  Governor Ige says his administration focused on developing detailed plans to save taxpayer money.

“I do believe that we’ll be able to deliver this project with minimal cost adjustments or change orders.  It’s because of all the work done in the pre-planning processes including all of the users – everybody at the table – being able to talk about what they would like to see and then, more importantly, comment on the plan so it can work for everyone.”

For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.