What's Next for State's Cargo?

Kevin Molale
Kevin Molale
Superferry CEO Thomas Fargo
Superferry CEO Thomas Fargo
Sen. Kalani English
Sen. Kalani English

By Mari-Ela David

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Aloha handled a majority of the state's air cargo, and although other carriers are providing a short-term solution, a long-term solution must ultimately come into play.

Aloha was the gateway for 85% of Hawaii's air cargo, and now that the division is closed, many are calling on the state to step in.

Fed Ex, UPS, to Pacific Air Cargo - just a day after Aloha Cargo shuts down, local carriers step in to take on the airlines stranded load.

"We live here, we all have to help each other out. Businesses are going to hurt unless we all pitch in and help each other," said Kevin Molale of Pacific Air Cargo.

On Maui, even the Superferry joined in the massive effort to keep the state's cargo moving.

"We have a tremendous ability to move trucks and other commercial cargo back and forth the islands," said Superferry CEO Thomas Fargo.

But these efforts are just a short-term solution. What's in store for the long run is something the state is wrestling with.

At the Capitol, the legislative session was in its final day so state leaders said there's not much they can do to help. Some lawmakers have suggested Governor Linda Lingle should use her emergency powers to call on the National Guard and help transport the state's cargo.

But state leaders say the Governor may be hesitant because there is currently a bill moving forward in the Legislature that would limit her emergency powers.

"I consider the shutting down of cargo service between our islands legitimate. If someone on the neighbor islands cannot get food and then we start to run out on food at the supermarkets and then people start hoarding and then the supermarkets are empty and we cannot refill them then it creates a cycle that becomes very devastating," said Sen. Kalani English.

The governor is expected to veto the emergency powers bill on Thursday.

As for the cargo crisis, she says there are enough carriers to handle Aloha's abandoned load. Among those carriers offering help is Young Brothers.