Young Brothers asks legislature for $25 million from CARES Act funding

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — One the biggest inter-island shipping companies in the state is now considering some drastic cuts.

Young Brothers claims it lost millions as cargo loads have dropped.

Young Brothers says the pandemic has caused a 30 percent drop in volumes leading to nearly $8 million in losses through April.

Governor David Ige released a statement on Young Brother’s request this afternoon:

“Every business in Hawai‘i has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including Young Brothers. The company is part of the state’s critical infrastructure that keeps goods moving to and between the islands. We will be considering the request as part of the recovery and resiliency efforts underway.”

Last month, the company cut back on some of its routes to help offset some of the losses, but now it says it needs to do more.

If allowed, it will no longer deliver less than container loads of dry and refrigerated cargo to Kahului, Nawiliwili, Kawaihae, and Hilo starting June 8.

“It’s imperative that we assure that the delivery of goods and services to our neighbor island residents continues and as much as possible uninterrupted.” Sen Donovan Dela Cruz said.

If that doesn’t improve it’s situation, it may have to expand that to include all ports.

The changes first need to be approved by the Public Uilities Commission.

“This discussion is going to have to include the administration and many different stakeholders but the parties that deal directly with Young Brothers, the PUC and DOT they’re working furiously to make sure there are other options for Young Brothers.” Senator Dela Cruz added.

Young Brothers is asking the legislature for $25 million from the CARES Act funding the state received to sustain operations through the end of the year.

“They’ve asked for COVID funds, that might be a little bit premature right now because looking at all of the different options may take some time.” Senator Dela Cruz said, noting that the Senate does not meet until June 15th.

Eliminating mixed cargo could hurt those who ship items inter-island, especially farmers and ranchers who rely on less than container load (LCL) to ship livestock.

“While the Hawaii Cattleman’s main producer is cattle, which for the most part they’re shipped in 20 and 40-foot containers, we do as agriculture support all livestock industries.” Hawaii Cattleman’s Council’s Nicole Galase said.

“We have been working with organizations that work with sheep and bull, horses, hogs, we know that moving the LCL or eliminating LCL shipments for livestock is going to negatively impact the livestock industry and agriculture in general.”

Many businesses rely on Young Brothers shipping to be stable.

“We support Young Brothers. We always want to work closely with them because they are our only option to ship inter-island, so we want to make sure they remain viable to ship not only livestock but everything.” Galase said.

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