Young Brothers Is First in the US to Use Innovative Mooring System

May 2, 2024

(Photo: Young Brothers)
(Photo: Young Brothers)

Hawai‘i’s interisland freight company Young Brothers has become the first marine transportation company in the Unites States to install an innovative mooring system designed to improve safety and efficiency.

The new $1.5 million ShoreTension mooring system was blessed in a ceremony at the Port of Kaumalapau in Lāna‘i on Monday. The technology, which keeps the barge steady against the dock during inclement weather, is already being utilized in harbors around the globe in countries like New Zealand, Peru and Italy.

“As the only water carrier to serve Lāna‘i, we take seriously our kuleana to provide safe, reliable, frequent and affordable shipping to this rural community,” said Jay Ana, president of Young Brothers. “This innovative mooring system reflects our commitment to enhancing the reliability of service for Lāna‘i so we can safely deliver the goods the community depends on despite rough conditions.”

Adverse weather, such as large swells, harbor surges and high winds, regularly plague the Port of Kaumalapau, especially in the winter season, and can prevent Young Brothers crews from safely unloading and loading cargo from the barge. When delivery is impossible, Young Brothers regularly attempts recovery sailings at the company’s own expense to ensure Lānaʻi receives its cargo as soon as safely possible.

The mooring system addresses this issue by using a series of four 100-ton bollards and ShoreTension units to manage tension on the mooring lines that safely hold a barge against the dock during dangerous conditions. The ShoreTension units use the energy they store from the barge’s movement to automatically adjust the tension on the lines—loosening or tightening—as needed to keep the barge secure against the dock.

The blessing, conducted by Kahu Saul Kahihikolo, brought together elected leaders, Lāna‘i businesses and community members to mark the occasion.

“Improving and modernizing our harbors is a priority,” said Dreana “Dre” Kalili, Deputy Director for the State Department of Transportation – Harbors Division. “We appreciate Young Brothers’ collaborative and proactive efforts to implement the ShoreTension mooring system because it will help ensure the uninterrupted flow of goods throughout our island chain.”

Beyond the ShoreTension system, Young Brothers continues to reinvest in enhancing its services for Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i. In winter 2024, the company will welcome a state-of-the-art $10 million barge, Kalohi, to its fleet. The 286-foot-long vessel offers more deck space and cargo capacity, ballastable technology to address changing tidal conditions, and five ramps that enable greater flexibility and efficiency for loading and discharging cargo.

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