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Matson Navigation and the Hawaiian Merchant

The interviews and various published sources pointed to the Matson Navigation Company, a shipping firm based in San Francisco since 1882, as a key player in the development of containerization on the West Coast. Matson’s engineers were among the first to focus on designing and testing containers, cranes, and other specialized equipment. The company also recruited operations and systems specialists from the oil and automobile industries to conceptualize containerization as a multi-modal network, not simply as ocean transport.

Loading Hawaiian Merchant

Loading the first container for Gerber Baby Food aboard the Hawaiian Merchant at Alameda, Cal., August 31, 1958. This was Matson’s first shipment of containerized cargo.

Hawaiian Merchant under way

Matson’s Hawaiian Merchant under way

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