110 Years Of Cargo Service

By Glenn Hong
Wednesday - March 24, 2010
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By Glenn Hong
President and CEO of Young Brothers

This year, Young Brothers celebrates 110 years of linking our islands together, carrying the vast array of goods that sustain the lives of many residents throughout Hawaii’s communities. Although our obligation to provide all the Neighbor Islands with essential cargo service remains unchanged, the tools we use have evolved enormously, allowing us to greatly improve the efficiency - and safety - of our operations to meet growing, changing demands.

Our employees are at the core of our Neighbor Islands’“Just-InTime” delivery system. At the heart of everything we do are our 350 employees, whose dedication and experience keeps our islands tied together every day, whether it’s sunny or stormy, through all the ups and downs of our economy. Their commitment is essential to the four critical aspects of the service we provide: that it be 1) regular and frequent, 2) affordable, 3) reliable and 4) comprehensive and universal for shippers of all varieties and types of freight to all islands.


We honor our employees’ commitment not only by recognizing their efforts, but by making safety our first priority and the first consideration in the adoption of new technology. Given how accustomed people have become to having goods readily available on store shelves, it is appropriate to recall the risks inherent in moving tons of cargo across the open ocean and in transferring it from shore to barge and back again with each voyage.

We use technology to reduce our carbon footprint and increase capacity. To support our mission, YB has invested $100 million in improvements since 2006. This includes four modern, fuel-efficient, environmentally sensitive barges, tug improvements, new cargo handling equipment and new computer systems. These allow us to carry 40 percent more cargo per voyage than the barges they replace, enabling us to readily meet the needs of our customers and accommodate future growth.

Top row (from left): Artie Smith, Shannon Ellis, Greg Silva, Glenn Hong, Curtis Lott, Ed Amina, Janice Bongo
Bottom row (from left): Kelly Dowler, Craig Iwaishi, MacArthur (“Bae”) Delacruz, Celeste Ames.
Photo by Byron Lee .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

This additional capacity, combined with other improvements, allows YB to transport far more cargo more efficiently with a single gallon of fuel than any other mode of transport. Computerized monitoring of all tug propulsion engines is part of YB’s program to operate tugs at the optimal speed for efficient fuel consumption and on-time arrival. YB also upgraded three of its tugs with new propulsion designs, which significantly improved vessel performance and fuel efficiency. The new barges’ improved hull design reduces drag and enhances on-time performance.

What are the results? YB has delivered between 7 million and 11 million tons of cargo each year since 2003, and is poised to deliver the increased loads that will accompany the state’s inevitable economic expansion. YB now delivers each ton of cargo on half a gallon of fuel to island consumers. Moreover, the improved hull design of its barges and the increased thrust of its tug engines enable YB to consistently deliver barges to their destinations on time in almost all weather conditions. Thus, the dedication of our employees and the innovative use of technology have allowed us to meet the seemingly conflicting goals of fuel efficiency and carbon footprint reduction on the one hand, and increasing power and payload on the other.

With today’s rising cost of energy and increasing concern for environmental sustainability, our ability to reduce our carbon footprint by transporting more cargo with less fuel is critical.

Efforts of the kind we continue to make lay the groundwork for the next century of providing the vital cargo link among our islands.

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