Young Brothers says 7 of the 21 impacted containers have been recovered and towed into Hilo Harbor. In the meantime, lawmakers are discussing a proposal some believe would help neighbor islands get the shipping cargo they need. This comes as Young Brothers is asking the state for financial help to stay afloat. Young Brothers claims they face an impending cash crisis due to COVID-19. The company asked for $25-million from the CARES Act funds and scaled-back deliveries to both Maui and Hawaii county. And this was before 21 of their shipping containers fell overboard.
Young Brothers tells us they received the green light from the Coast Guard and work has begun to remove the damaged containers on the barge. Seven of the 21 containers that fell overboard have been recovered. Coast Guard officials say one is sitting on a nearby beach. It drifted ashore and the company is working with the state to respond to that one.
In terms of financial help the company needs, instead of providing any funding, some lawmakers have proposed to give the Public Utilities Commission more authority such as approving another carrier if another shipper can’t meet the demands. The measure would change the requirements upon which the PUC may issue what’s called a “certificate of public convenience and necessity.”
“So if anything happens to YB (Young Brothers) let’s say they close or they go into bankruptcy after the Commission comes out with their findings of what they are doing currently, and the Commission can step in and say we are going to authorize another carrier to come in because we don’t want a discontinue of the services,” said Senate Transportation Committee Chair Lorraine Inouye. “This is rather important because presently we can’t give a service provider a certificate to anyone waiting in the wings.”
Regarding the Senate Transportation Committee Hearing, Young Brothers says:
“We are committed to continuing our work with the state to achieve a sustainable and strong future for Young Brothers. Our top priority is ensuring we can continue to provide this vital service connecting our island communities.”
The proposal passed in the senate transportation committee on Wednesday.