Profiteering Watch: Shipping Giant Matson Inc. Quadruples Profits As Industry Fights Crackdown on Record-High Freight Fees
WASHINGTON, DC – Staggering new earnings data released today by Matson Inc. — the largest U.S. shipping company and the tenth-largest in the world as of 2020 – reaffirms recent reporting that the industry has “never been more profitable” despite “massive shortages”. While the industry is reaping over nine times what it made in 2020 thanks to the record-breaking fees it has been charging, the shipping industry continues to resist efforts to crack down on abusive fees. A recent report from Accountable.US found World Shipping Council, the trade group for the largest shipping companies including Matson Inc., is lobbying the Senate against bipartisan legislation to rein in supply chain crisis profiteering despite enjoying record-level profits. Leading economists have warned that these exorbitant fees are “stoking inflation.”
Matson Inc. announced today that its FY 2021 net income grew 380% to over $927 million and spent over $244 million on stock buybacks and dividends while its CEO acknowledged the company saw “unprecedented levels of demand” in Pacific shipping lanes – despite raising rates for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands in January.
Two things that can’t be true at the same time: giant shipping companies quadrupling their profits and rewarding shareholders hundreds of millions of dollars, but also having no choice but to impose record freight fees that get passed onto consumers. The shipping industry has a choice and they are choosing to exploit the pandemic to pad their profits and enrich a small group of investors at the expense of everyday families. The Senate too faces a choice: to crack down on abusive fees that fan the flames of inflation, or give a greedy industry a free pass to make matters worse.”