Much has been written and shared regarding the effects and/or consequences of the U.S. West Coast port disruptions brought about my labor contract negotiations these past 6-7 months.  We thought it was time to share some positive examples and learning on how some shipping organizations raised to the challenge of delivering on customer service. One such organization was Hawaii based Matson Shipping Lines.

A posting published by Hawaii News Now reports that the U.S. west coast disruption actually helped Matson to deliver not only more positive financial results but more business as well. Matson initiated a China Express service whereby ships destined westbound from Hawaii such as the country of Guam, also continued on to several large China ports.  Matson’s vessels sail much faster than today’s very large container ships, and the voyage from Hong Kong takes a more northern Pacific routing, arriving at Matson’s owned, far less congested terminal at Long Beach.

The report indicates the combination of the attractive China Express option, coupled with the lower cost of bunker fuel, contributed to a $28 million fourth quarter profit, compared to $7 million in the year earlier quarter. Annual revenues in 2014 increased by nearly $30 million.

A recent article published by the Journal of Commerce (paid subscription) further called attention to Matson’s positive customer service accolades during the disruption.

It is important that supply chain teams gain insight to not only the challenges, but to the innovation and resourcefulness of carriers and logistics entities that rallied to the challenge and applied creativity as well as a focus on customer needs.  That creativity amounted to faster sailing and a positive perspective on customer needs.

Bob Ferrari