Our vessels navigate some of the most pristine and environmentally sensitive areas in the Pacific, including the Hawaiian Islands, U.S. coastlines from California to Alaska, and around the islands in the South Pacific. We are committed to protecting these areas by operating our business in an environmentally responsible manner.

Our environmental strategy is focused on addressing the impacts from vessel and shoreside operations.

Reducing GHG Emissions and Climate Change

Matson has established the following medium- and long-term goals that reflect our commitment and contribution to helping the world decarbonize and limit climate change:

Reduction In Ghg

Net Zero 2050

We have developed a roadmap to meet our 2030 goal. These plans include retrofitting our fleet to accommodate low-carbon fuels, deploying efficiency measures to reduce fuel and energy use, modernizing terminal operations, and engaging in cross-sector collaborations. In addition, we continue to explore other efficiency improvements for our fleet, including:

  • Installation of shaft generators on future new builds to produce electricity without increased emissions
  • Installation of peak shaving batteries to minimize the need to run additional generators
  • Applying high-performance, environmentally preferred anti-fouling or friction-reducing coatings to vessel hulls, which help reduce fuel consumption by reducing drag in the water
  • Deploying new engine monitoring technology to increase fuel efficiency
  • Adopting technology upgrades to our vessel weather routing services to reduce fuel consumption
  • Reducing vessel speed, where possible, throughout our network
  • Implementing more environmentally sensitive container design practices and refrigerants

In 2021, we conducted a climate change risk assessment in alignment with the principles of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). In addition to outlining our GHG reduction goals, the TCFD Report details our governance approach and efforts to manage the business risks and opportunities stemming from climate change.

Improving Air Quality

Matson was an early adopter of “cold ironing,” which refers to the use of shoreside electrical power in port rather than burning diesel to keep our vessel engines running. We made modifications to our vessels serving ports in California and China to equip them to provide cold ironing, a move that is helping to reduce fuel and ultimately emissions.

Ten of 12 active vessels in our domestic fleet have exhaust gas cleaning systems, or “scrubbers,” that virtually eliminate particulate matter and sulfur from engine exhaust. In addition, our four newest vessels are equipped with dual fuel capable engines which can run at full power on low-sulfur fuel or liquefied natural gas.

Our newest Kanaloa Class vessels have Tier 3 engines, which are designed to meet the strictest International Maritime Organization (IMO) NOx emissions standards. All of our vessels meet or exceed the dramatically reduced fuel tolerances of the IMO 2020 regulations.

Recycling Retired Ships Responsibly

Because of concerns about the negative impacts of ship recycling practices around the world, Matson’s policy expressly requires that its vessels sold for recycling be directed to environmentally responsible and safe recycling facilities.

Preventing Spills

Matson’s goal is zero significant spills. To meet this goal, we employ a combination of written procedures, training, and proactive maintenance of vessels and equipment. Under these procedures, if a spill does occur, we activate our response plans.

Protecting Ocean Health and Biodiversity

To protect our oceans and safeguard marine life, we have implemented robust policies, procedures, and programs designed to properly manage waste and prevent ocean contamination.

In 1993, Matson became the first container vessel operator to adopt a zero solid waste policy . Our “Greentainer” program uses a revenue slot on every voyage for the collection of all non-food solid waste for transfer to recycling, waste to energy, or other environmentally regulated disposal facilities on shore. Other than food waste, this ensures that no solid waste aboard our vessels is thrown overboard. We are also reducing solid waste associated with our office and terminal operations.

Matson was a pioneer in installing ballast water treatment systems to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Industry Collaboration

We believe decarbonization will require a collective effort from the entire marine transportation industry. In 2020, Matson and 16 other members of the World Shipping Council signed an open letter to the IMO advocating for industry-wide collaboration and proposed a $5 billion industry-funded research and development program. The proposal has gained traction with prominent maritime nations and organizations representing all shipping sectors.

Matson is also engaged with Smart Freight Centre’s Clean Cargo, a business-to-business leadership forum dedicated to promoting responsible shipping and reducing the sectors’ overall environmental impact.

Since 2008, Matson Logistics has participated in the U.S. EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership, a program focused on improving freight transportation efficiency. Participation in the program allows Matson to assess the current environmental footprint of our carrier base and build a stronger, higher performing roster of carriers as we grow our logistics business.

We believe these collaborative efforts are essential as our industry moves toward a net zero future. Only by working together will we be able to meet our own emissions reduction goals; successfully adapt to regulatory changes; stimulate research into transformative, carbon neutral fuels; and further incorporate low-carbon technologies into our operations.

For more information about our Environmental Stewardship Program, please see: