November 13, 2014 9:10 AM, EST

Horizon Lines Sells Business in Separate Transactions

Susan Goldman/Bloomberg

Horizon Lines Inc., based in Charlotte, North Carolina, said it has agreed to sell the bulk of its business to Matson Inc.

In separate transactions, Horizon will sell its ocean freight business to and from Hawaii to The Pasha Group, in San Rafael, California, and also terminate service between the United States and Puerto Rico.

The moves will bring to an end a business that can trace its origins to the beginning of containerized shipping. In 1956, founder Malcolm McLean used a converted oil tanker to move freight from Port Newark, New Jersey, to the Port of Houston.

Horizon Lines, which operated 13 vessels to move freight from the U.S. mainland to Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, encountered problems in recent years due to high debt loads and an aging fleet. The company posted a net loss of $31.9 million on revenue of $1.07 billion in 2013.

Under terms of the sale announced Nov. 11, Matson will manage all of Horizon’s operations except for the Hawaiian trade business. The transaction is valued at $456.1 million, the company said.

Matt Cox, CEO of Honolulu-based Matson, said the addition of Horizon’s Alaska business “represents a natural geographic extension of our platform as a leader serving our customers in the Pacific.”

Pasha CEO George Pasha IV said the company will acquire four containerships for approximately $141.5 million and will operate Horizon’s Hawaii business alongside existing operations, which include automotive distribution, stevedoring, relocation services, heavy-lift cargo and government and military distribution.