Carriers are prioritizing relief shipments to Maui after winds from Hurricane Dora helped fuel a wildfire that devastated the town of Lāhainā this week.
The Port of Kahului is fully operational, and interisland freight and transport company Young Brothers noted in an Aug. 9 operations update that it is focusing its efforts on the loading and discharge of medical supplies and emergency vehicles to the port over the next few sailings.
“Due to shifts in capacity for certain sailings, Young Brothers may re-book some cargo to the next available sailing,” according to the notice. “As a reminder, less than container load cargo is moved on a space available basis and priority will be given to cargo that support relief efforts.”
A barge was scheduled to arrive at the Port of Kahului Thursday, according to a Young Brothers LinkedIn post yesterday. Supplies include 20 containers for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, including four containers of bottled water and 16 containers of ready-to-eat meals, a mobile medical unit and a communications trailer for Kaiser, as well as vehicles for Hawaiian Electric and Verizon.
“We’ll continue to partner with state and county agencies to keep critical goods flowing into Maui,” the shipping line stated.
Matson is working closely with federal, state and county agencies to “assess needs and prioritize emergency supplies and equipment,” a spokesperson told Supply Chain Dive in an email. The spokesperson noted that there would be “more to come” on those efforts.
Shipping company Pasha Hawaii's emergency response plan is underway, and it is also prioritizing sending emergency rations, food and medical supplies to Maui via available barge capacity, according to an Aug. 11 release. The shipping company is currently working with government agencies, customers and partners to coordinate the transport of relief supplies.
Pasha Hawaii operates two vessels from the West Coast to Honolulu, with twice weekly connections into Maui, and also provides “roll-on/roll-off cargo service with direct mainline vessel calls into the port of Kahului ready to meet the demands of large equipment and emergency and support vehicles,” according to the release.
Kona-based logistics company White Gloves Moving Co. is also supporting relief efforts and has secured a shipping container to take supplies and donations to Maui, as reported by local news outlet Big Island Now.
Other businesses donating services include shipping company Hawaii Stevedores, Hawaii Pilots Association, P&M Marine and Inland Boatman’s Union, according to Captain Ed Enos, an HPA member and local harbor pilot.
“The Hawaii Pilots Association, like so many other maritime businesses, did a big supply drive internally among pilots and employees,” Enos said in an email. “We are gathering bottled water, blankets, canned goods, and of course cash donations.”
He added that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union is also driving collection efforts at all ports on the West Coast, and the containers of donated items will be shipped to Maui for free.
The trucking industry has stepped up to help, as well. The American Logistics Aid Network, a trucking nonprofit that responds to weather emergencies, has mobilized and received its first request for assistance in Maui on Thursday, the group said. The request entailed moving communications equipment to support shelter facilities near Lāhainā.
Air carriers are also rallying efforts. Hawaiian Airlines set aside dedicated space on its aircraft to support essential cargo, including blood and medical supplies, medication, food, water, amenity kits and infrastructure equipment for telecommunications repairs, according to a blog post. Donated and shipped goods include 300 bottles of water, 550 sandwiches, 3,000 snack items, 1,600 amenity kits, mattress pads, lounging pillows and more for evacuees arriving at Kahului Airport.
Aloha Air Cargo is shipping packages from Hawaiʻi customers to Maui-based family members for free through Aug. 20, a spokesperson told Supply Chain Dive in an email. The carrier will offer discounted air cargo pricing through the rest of August and Sepetember and will return to regular rates starting Oct. 1. To date, the carrier has helped transport more that 77,000 pounds of relief items to Maui and will be hosting a drive-through donation site on Aug. 19 at its station in Honolulu.
Carriers from outside the state are also sending help. An Alaskan Airlines rescue flight departed for Maui from its Seattle Cargo facility Friday morning. The aircraft was filled with relief supplies such as water, non-perishable food, pillows, blankets, towels, wipes, baby formula and diapers, according to a notice Thursday. The carrier will continue to send rescue flights between Maui and Honolulu to transport people off of Maui and move critical supplies.
As of Sunday night, the wildfire’s death toll reached 96 after wind-driven flames engulfed the town, destroying more than 2,700 structures in its wake, local outlet Hawaii News Now reported. Firefighters are still working to extinguish flare-ups and contain fires in Lāhainā and nearby areas, according to a notice Friday from the County of Maui.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include information from Pasha Hawaii and Aloha Air Cargo, as well as an updated death toll.