The Horizon Hawk, a new 2,824 TEU containership in the Horizon Lines, Inc. fleet, made her maiden call today at Tacoma, launching the carrier's enhanced Transpacific-1 (TP1) service between Mainland US, Guam, Micronesia and Asia.
The Horizon Hawk is the first of the five Hunter class vessels entering service this year for Horizon Lines, the leading American domestic ocean carrier. All five are of proven international design, have a service speed of over 23 knots and are U.S.-flag, foreign built vessels that Horizon Lines is chartering from subsidiaries of Ship Finance International Limited under definitive long-term charters and related agreements. The new ships were designed to be more efficient to operate and as a result will reduce operating costs, while at the same time providing additional capacity to grow with our markets, said John V. Keenan, Senior Vice President and Chief Transportation Officer for Horizon Lines.
The Horizon Hawk will depart Tacoma this weekend and make an inaugural sailing into Oakland, CA, before departing on its first transpacific journey. This new tonnage upgrades the carrier's previous TP1 service that has served the lane with five Jones Act-qualified vessels. The Jones Act covers ocean cargo services to and from Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, as well as cargo moving between other U.S. origin and destination ports, ensuring those cargoes are carried on U.S.-flag, U.S.-built and U.S.-manned vessels.
Redeploying the carrier's Jones Act vessels from previous TP1 service to trade routes that require the US-built vessels provides additional capacity and adequate ships to meet the future needs of Horizon Lines' customers well into the future. The introduction of this new tonnage also allows the carrier's other Jones Act vessels to be available as reserve capacity to meet seasonal and dry-dock needs, as well as to respond to potential new opportunities such as coastwise container services. As of July 2007, Horizon Lines plans to operate 17 active ships and to have four vessels in reserve status. The average age of the company's active vessel fleet will be 20 years at that time, an industry standard.