Improved Shipping Sought on Moloka`i and Lana`i

February 10, 2012, 8:53 AM HST · Updated February 10, 8:54 AM
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Mele Carroll. Courtesy photo.

By Wendy Osher

A bill seeking the reduction of shipping time and costs for the transport of goods between Moloka’i and Lana’i to Oahu, gained committee approval this week.

The House Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce passed House Bill 2380 HD1 that would establish a working group to explore shipping options for the islands.

“If we are going to support agriculture and assist the islands of Moloka’i and Lana’i to be the bread basket of the state, we need to look closely at our shipping industry and find innovative ways to make it work for everyone,” said Rep. Mele Carroll in a statement.

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Carroll, who represents the people of Moloka’i and Lana’i, joined in introducing the bill saying, “It is critical that we examine all possibilities including the feasibility of other modes of transportation and other means of shipping freights between islands including Oahu to Moloka’i and Lana’i and back as well as to Maui inclusively.”

Lanai, file photo by Wendy Osher.

Under the bill, a working group would be established within the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to consider strategies for reducing shipping time and cost.  The group would be tasked with investigating the feasibility of alternative modes of transportation between islands, reducing taxes, creating tax incentives, and any other issues considered appropriate.

The working group would include 13 members including:

  • director of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism;
  • director of Transportation;
  • director of Taxation;
  • chairperson of the Board of Agriculture;
  • an official from the County of Maui, to be appointed by the mayor;
  • a representative from the shipping industry, to be appointed by the House Speaker;
  • a representative from the airline industry, to be appointed by the Senate President;
  • the executive director of the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation;
  • a member of the state House, appointed by the House Speaker;
  • a member of the state Senate appointed by the Senate President;
  • a member representing the island of Moloka’i and a member of Lana’i;
  • and any additional members the chairperson of the working group determines to be necessary.

The bill gained unanimous testimony in support of the measure, including words of support from Moloka’i homestead farmer and rancher, Lynn DeCoite, who submitted testimony in strong support of HB2380.

“The island of Moloka’i feels that this bill is critical to the survival of our economy. We have been crippled with nowhere else to turn. We need options, not a monopoly,” she said.

Also testifying in support was James Haley, on behalf of the Iliahi Foundation, whose mission is in part to create a more sustainable Hawai’i.  “The creation of a board of review to identify the best solutions for movement of produce and other products form Lana’i and Moloka’i will not only aid those islands but all the other islands as well,” said Haley.

“The passage of House Bill 2380 will allow for the necessary planning model for the security and economic development of those two islands and all of Hawaii. ‘Time is Money.’ The reduction of shipping time between islands will have a huge impact on the State,” said Haley.

Should this bill see passage, the working group would report to the legislature its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation.

The recommendations would be due no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session for 2013.

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