Matson Inc. is moving to help emergency agencies responding to the Maui wildfire that has so far killed nearly 100 people.
The Honolulu-based company said Aug. 10 that it’s prioritizing emergency equipment and supply shipments to the area, chartering an extra barge for stand-by emergencies.
This past weekend, Matson’s barge Columbia carried supplies from Honolulu to Maui for the Federal Emergency Management Administration and the Hawaii Food Industry Association.
The provisions included 32 large generators, four 40-foot containers of bottled water, three 40-foot refrigerated containers – two filled with perishable food and one with ice, the company said in an Aug. 13 statement.
Matson also said that it has moved a diesel generator to its Kahului Terminal to bolster support for refrigerated containers, as well as 30 chassis trailers to help move potential additional cargo volumes on Maui.
As of the morning of Aug. 14, NBC News reported 96 deaths, a number that is expected to continue rising as teams search for missing people in the area. The wildfire is among the deadliest in U.S. history, exceeding the 85 deaths recorded in California’s 2018 Camp Fire.
To speed up emergency response cargo, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission is allowing Matson move those goods between Honolulu and Maui on a temporary basis.
Meanwhile, cargo services at Maui’s Kahului Harbor and its service to Maui twice a week continue without interruption.
The company said that it plans to keep its usual barge arrival schedule at Kahului on Tuesdays and Fridays and add another Maui sailing on Aug. 20. Matson is also looking into extra sailings to Maui if needed and is working on helping its customers ship relief supplies to Maui and talking with nonprofits about Maui-bound shipments.
Nonprofit groups in need of getting relief goods to Maui may apply at Matson.com/Community.