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Construction boosts cargo shipments

WAILUKU, Lanai (AP) — Construction and renovations are driving an increase in Lanai’s interisland cargo shipments, a reflection of the plans the island’s billionaire owner has in store.

Lanai’s shipping volume in the second quarter was so high it led to a slight overall increase in shipping to all neighbor island ports for interisland shipping company Young Brothers Ltd., the company said.

April through June volume on Lanai increased 60 percent, growth that dwarfs all neighbor island ports.

“Although Lanai cargo volume made up only 5 percent of total cargo volume in the second quarter, without Lanai’s strong increase, second-quarter volumes would have reflected a 2 percent decrease statewide,” Young Brothers said.

Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison purchased 98 percent of Lanai from Castle &Cooke Inc. in 2012. Since then, there’s been a flurry of construction, with projects including upgrades to two Four Seasons resorts, building new homes and work on a desalination water plant.

The sale price was not disclosed but Maui County assessed the island’s value at more than $325 million, with the two resort properties valued at $95 million.

“He’s pumping money in here like he owns it,” said longtime Lanai resident Ron McOmber.

“The whole island is moving,” said Lanai Today publisher Alberta de Jetley. “The amount of construction activity is way up.”

Construction workers have increased the demand for ferry service to the island and housing. Workers have taken everything that’s available on an island where a three-bedroom home rents for $4,000 a month.

“There’s no housing available,” McOmber said.


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