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Young Brothers to restore full cargo service next week

COVID-19 cases among Kahului staff forced company to scale back

Shipping containers are shown at the Port of Kahului in July 2020. Young Brothers, which was forced to temporarily scale back some cargo acceptance and delivery services between Honolulu and Kahului due to COVID-19 cases among staff on Maui, said Thursday that it would restore all services fully by Monday, “barring any setbacks.” The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Young Brothers said Thursday that “barring any setbacks,” it expects to fully restore all cargo acceptance and delivery services from Kahului to Honolulu by Monday.

A COVID-19 outbreak last week left the company shortstaffed as eight out of roughly 33 Young Brothers employees at the Port of Kahului tested positive for the virus.

As of Thursday, the company said three of the eight employees had returned to work while the other five remain in isolation at home. There are no new COVID cases at the Kahului Port, the company said.

Although employees were sick, Young Brothers said it continued to sail uninterrupted to all ports as scheduled, including three sailings between the ports of Honolulu and Kahului before the end of this week.

Last week the company announced that it was not accepting certain items from Honolulu to Kahului, including all dry palletized and mixed cargo, refrigerated palletized and loose cargo, automobiles, roll-on/roll-off cargo, livestock and hazardous materials services.

The company has since slowly phased in those types of cargo for shipment this week.

In the Thursday sailing from the Port of Honolulu to Kahului, the company accepted all cargo except mixed cargo, an area of service that is normally closed on Thursdays. In an effort to assist these customers ahead of time, the company accepted mixed cargo bound for Maui during special hours on Wednesday afternoon.

In the Thursday sailing from Kahului to Honolulu, the company accepted all cargo for shipment, though Maui customers with mixed, palletized and perishable loose and less-than-container-load cargo had to drop off their items for shipment ahead of time on Wednesday.

For today’s sailing from Kahului to Honolulu, Young Brothers is accepting all cargo for shipment except for mixed, palletized and perishable loose and less-than-container-load cargo.

The company continues to monitor staffing levels closely and update customers through email notices.

Young Brothers reiterated that more than 90 percent of its team is vaccinated and it has scheduled vaccination clinics to offer booster shots to eligible employees.

In addition, Young Brothers said it is working with a group of physicians to provide contact tracing, risk assessments for potential exposures, testing protocols for affected employees and consultation on enhanced COVID-19 safety and mitigation measures. These include:

• Individual case management and testing protocols.

• Free at-home antigen tests for team members at any affected ports.

• Deployment of face shields and high-quality KN95 or N95 masks for all team members.

• Additional precautions for essential tug crew members.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

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