Project Background

Projections for Hawai‘i’s economy (2040) dictate the need for development of expanded and well-planned commercial harbor facilities. In order to utilize Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor’s (KBPH) unique position in Oahu’s harbor system and serve growing demands for harbor capacity, State Department of Transportation, Harbors Division (DOT-H) is updating its planning for the harbor to guide future development.



In order to optimize Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor’s (KBPH) unique role in commercial harbors system and to meet growing demands, DOT-H is updating its Master Plan for this harbor. The DOT-H master plans are long-range strategic guides that provide a framework for the orderly development of commercial harbors to accommodate the future needs of it users.

Originally conceived to alleviate some of Honolulu Harbor’s congestion, KBPH is now the second busiest harbor in the state and the primary harbor for the importation of liquid-bulk (i.e., fuels, biofuels and asphalt) and dry-bulk (i.e., coal, cement, aggregates, scrap metal) cargos. It is also the critical hub for exporting these products to the Neighbor Islands.

Due to increased demand for berths, the harbor has been experiencing scheduling problems. Piers 5 and 6 are multi-use piers, handling general, container, dry bulk, neo bulk and liquid bulk cargos. The existing fuel hatches are located at the center of these heavily used piers. This creates scheduling conflicts between interisland fuel barges and overseas dry bulk cargo operations. There is continued demand for this finite linear berth space with berthing availability nearing capacity. DOT-H recently acquired 54 acres of land adjacent to the harbor which will be available for additional terminal and storage space.

The purpose of the KBPH 2040 Master Plan is to forecast maritime activities at KBPH for the next 25 plus years, and provide planning guidance to support these activities.


Over the past decade, the volume of fuel shipments (both fuel product imports and inter-island shipments) to KBPH has significantly grown. Today, KBPH is the top liquid bulk cargo harbor in Hawai‘i and serves as the primary harbor for importing various fuel products (e.g., crude, refined, biofuels, gas) to O‘ahu and export to the Neighbor Islands. The location of KBPH is in close proximity to the two refineries with their comprehensive fuel infrastructure. The harbor area also contains undeveloped areas which offer additional harbor capacity to support renewable fuel production and storage. The only other commercial harbor on O‘ahu is Honolulu Harbor, and there is no capacity there for a new dedicated Fuel Pier. Altogether, these factors indicate that Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor is ideally suited to serve as the hub for Hawai‘i’s fuel system.

The Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), a partnership launched in 2008 between the State of Hawai‘i and the U.S. Department of Energy, is focused on mitigating some of the State’s energy security concerns. HCEI sets forth a plan to fulfill 70% of Hawai‘i’s energy demand using renewable sources and energy efficiency measures by 2030. Since HCEI’s inception, many renewable energy pilot projects and several utility-scale facilities have come online, and Hawai‘i has become a leading example of renewable energy application. However, even with aggressive development of alternative fuels and renewable energy, Hawai‘i’s utilities maintain that the State cannot stop its dependency on oil “overnight”. In fact, much of Hawai‘i’s conventional oil-based power generating and distribution infrastructure must be upgraded to allow for a continued safe and secure supply chain.

To meet these dynamic fuel shipment demands at Kalaeloa, construction of a dedicated Fuel Pier is a critical initiative. It will have to be able to adjust to possible changes in the type and amount of specific fuels that will enter the state through the harbor, which will then be distributed to the Neighbor Islands. In short, the new Fuel Pier will have to be designed with an accurate view of the anticipated energy and fuel markets of the future, with sufficient flexibility to serve a changing operational and technology market.