State To Review Young Brothers' Request For $25M In Federal Aid

May 27, 2020

Gov. David Ige says the state will be reviewing a request from Young Brothers LLC for $25 million in CARES Act funding to shore up a sharp decline in cargo volume due to the COVID-19 emergency.

The interisland shipping company said in a letter to the state Public Utilities Commission Tuesday that it is in a "extremely dire" situation.

"Until now, our parent company has graciously and generously covered our losses,” said Jay Ana, Young Brothers president. “But they are not in a position to continue covering the staggering COVID losses and have told us that we must now find other solutions."

Young Brothers reported a decline of 30 percent following stay-at-home orders that took effect in March. In an effort to maintain its operations, the company reduced sailing schedules for Maui and Hawaii counties. The decline in shipping to Kahului and Hilo resulted in a savings of $6 million.

The company also reduced gate hours on days when barges weren't running at all major ports, froze hiring, cut salaries for senior leaders and took other steps to reduce expenses, the company said.

Ige issued a statement yesterday saying every Hawaii business has been impacted by the pandemic, Young Brothers included.

"The company is part of the state's critical infrastructure that keeps goods moving to and between the islands. We will be considering the request as part of the recovery and resiliency efforts underway."