The new fortnightly schedule has been made possible by the company's acquisition of a larger, faster vessel that has been christened Samoana. The vessel, which was built in 2015 in China, has a nominal cargo capacity of 1,103 TEU, 259 TEU more than the vessel it replaces, the 844-TEU Islander.
The SPX service boasts some of the fastest transit times from Hawaii and the US West Coast to the Samoas, according to Matson: 12 days from Long Beach and five-and-a-half days from Honolulu to Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, with an extra day to Samoa's capital city, Apia.
Matson launched the SPX service in August 2016 in an effort to establish reliable, fixed day shipping service between the US West Coast, Hawaii and the Samoas, the carrier said.
"We are excited that we can now offer increased frequency to North America and Hawaii for importers and exporters alike, improving the flow of goods from the US and optimising access for Samoa produce and goods into US markets," Matson senior vice president-Pacific Tuilaepa Vic Angoco said in a statement.
The newly increased service from the US mainland and Hawaii is a complement to Matson's existing 14-day service from New Zealand to the Samoas, which has been in operation since 2013. According to the company, this overlapping of service loops allows for exporting and importing opportunities to extend across these trade lanes, which also cover Rarotonga and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, Tonga's capital city, Nukualofa, Tonga island group Vava'u, small island nation Niue, and Fiji, American Shipper reported.