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By Mark Rabago

Horizon Lines has notified customers it will raise its fuel surcharge to a record high starting Feb. 4, 2008 due to the persistently high prices of oil.

Horizon is increasing its fuel surcharge by three percentage points to a record 32 percent next year.

Matson Navigation Company, Hawaii's largest ocean shipper, said Monday that it was reviewing Horizon’s increase.

Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines, which ships vehicles between Hawaii and San Diego, also said it will reassess its surcharge.

Both Matson and Pasha currently assess a 29 percent fuel surcharge.

Horizon’s latest increase means it has more than doubled its fuel surcharge since the beginning of 2006, when it was at 15 percent.

In 2007 alone, Horizon raised its fuel surcharge five times.

Oil prices were at $96.08 a barrel in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, yesterday in Singapore.

Prices are expected to go up as traders brace for what is expected to be the sixth straight decline in U.S. crude stockpiles in a report to be released by the Energy Department.

Horizon Lines, Inc. is the nation’s leading domestic ocean shipping and integrated logistics company comprising two primary operating subsidiaries.

Horizon Lines, LLC operates a fleet of 21 U.S.-flag containerships and 5 port terminals linking the continental United States with Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Micronesia and Puerto Rico.

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