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May 1, 2003
When more than 50 ships from seven nations arrive in Pearl Harbor in June 2002, they'll find new accommodations ready and waiting thanks in part to manufacturer

When more than 50 ships from seven nations arrive in Pearl Harbor in June 2002, they'll find new accommodations ready and waiting — thanks in part to manufacturer American Insulated Wire (AIW), electrical contractor Garney Morris and electrical distributor Rasko Supply.

The pier-side facilities are needed to support the massive RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) exercises hosted by the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor. These exercises are the most extensive war games in the world, bringing together forces from the United States, Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Korea and the United Kingdom and involving some 22,000 military personnel and 200 aircraft.

But until now, the RIMPAC exercises placed a big strain on the base's infrastructure — and on the ships and sailors themselves. The facilities at Pearl Harbor simply couldn't accommodate the huge influx. Many ships had to anchor offshore — in the harbor or even outside of it — because of a lack of berthing space. That made life tougher for thousands of sailors, who tossed and rolled with the ships at anchor and endured the ferry ride to and from shore.

The project includes new shore power systems — giant versions of dockside hookups for pleasure boats — that will supply the visiting ships with power while they're in port. Electrical contractor Garney Morris, Levittown, Pa., installed a substation and 12 shore power outlet assemblies. The 12 400A receptacles in each station provide a total of 4,800A power. The system provides electrical power to the ships berthed at Pearl Harbor, allowing the ships to shut down onboard generators and conserve their fuel for steaming.

In all, American Insulated Wire, a Leviton company based in Pawtucket, R.I., supplied some 700,000 feet of cable. Nearly 100,000 feet of medium-voltage cable supplies power from the utility substation to the electrical switchboard.

A tight construction schedule meant that those involved in the project had to coordinate their efforts like a carefully orchestrated ballet. “It took a combination of discipline to keep the project on time and on budget, and flexibility to handle unforeseen wrinkles,” said Denny Luce, of Luce Associates, Ewa Beach, Hawaii. Luce, an independent manufacturers' rep, and American Insulated Wire worked closely with Rasko Supply, Honolulu, and Garney Morris to keep things running smoothly.

Tight quarters made timing even more critical on this project. The entire Pearl Harbor naval base sits on only 300 acres. Crowded conditions on the island of Oahu make warehouse space limited and expensive.

“It's nearly as bad for the product to arrive early as to arrive late,” Luce said. Another critical factor on the large, capital-intensive project was cash flow. Rasko Supply didn't want to carry the inventory on its books any longer than necessary. “AIW's flexible manufacturing capabilities kept us running lean,” said Eddie Uhr, general manager of Rasko Supply.

The result was win-win for all.