The contract is valued at $511m for both vessels.
To be built at NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, US, the vessels will be 870ft-long and have 3,500 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) capacity.
The new containerships will be designed to transport containers, automobiles and rolling stock, including trailers.
They will be powered by LNG-capable main and auxiliary engines, which are compliant with Tier III emission requirements, and be designed to later incorporate a LNG fuel gas system.
Matson will use the vessels for its trade route between the continental west coast and Hawaii, with delivery planned for the end of 2019 and mid-year 2020.
General Dynamics NASSCO president Fred Harris said: “NASSCO has long played a leading role in revolutionising the future of the American shipping industry.
“Our partnership with Matson builds upon NASSCO’s successful track record of constructing high-quality, highly efficient and on-time delivery for the Jones Act trade.”
The company said that it had partnered with Daewoo Ship Engineering Company (DSEC) to provide its advance ship design and shipbuilding technologies to its customers.
Since 2006, the collaboration developed four commercial ship designs for five separate Jones Act owners.
During the last decade, NASSCO provided 28 ocean-going ships to governmental and commercial customers.
Matson currently has a fleet of 22 vessels, which include containerships, combination container and roll-on/roll-off ships and custom-designed barges.
Image: Artist rendering of Matson Kanaloa Class vessel. Photo: courtesy of General Dynamics NASSCO.