How Shipping to Hawaii Works

Posted by Justin Bates on September 28, 2016 - 1:15 PM
How to ship to Hawaii

Shipping freight to Hawaii

Hawaii is known for its beautiful beaches and lush landscape, with much of the island’s appeal due to its tropical location and peaceful isolation. While living on an island has its obvious benefits, Hawaiian businesses face a different set of challenges than those in the continental United States. Because Hawaii is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, goods must travel via ocean or air transportation from the mainland.

How does freight get to the islands?

Freight destined for Hawaii travels just like any other shipment from its origin within the contiguous U.S. to the sailing ports in California; however, the details are a little different to get it to the final delivery location.

LTL shipments to Hawaii typically travel over the road to a coastal port processing and consolidation facility in California, where they are inspected, sorted and loaded into ocean containers that will be transported to the islands. Full containers are subject to inspection, but can otherwise be loaded onto a barge as-is.

A barge then moves the containers from the mainland to a port in one of the Hawaiian Islands, most commonly Oahu. Freight is then unloaded and prepared for delivery. Shipments destined for the outer islands are typically transferred to an inter-island barge for delivery to their final destinations.

How to ship to Hawaii

Despite being transported on the water, Hawaiian freight is still a domestic shipment. So while there’s no extra paperwork, there are a few specifics to keep in mind:

  • Required documents. The only documentation you'll need is your bill of lading. If you have hazardous materials, you’ll need to provide all relevant hazardous material paperwork.
  • Shipping schedule. Because most carriers only sail to Hawaii a few days each week, you may need to time your shipments accordingly.
  • Transit times. While domestic ground shipments can take just a few days, Hawaii shipping takes a little longer because of consolidation and sailing from the port, ocean transit, off-loading and island delivery.
  • Outer island shipments. Most freight from the mainland arrives at a primary port in Honolulu. If it’s bound for an outer island, it’s then transloaded to an inter-island barge for door delivery.
  • Although the ground transportation charges will work the same as any other truckload or LTL shipment, freight bound for Hawaii will also have charges for ocean and island delivery. These fees are based on cubic feet (not weight/class).

Even with all of the similarities to mainland shipping, the differences in time and distance make shipping to Hawaii require more attention to detail. Choosing a reliable carrier will help you save time and streamline the process.

Shipping to Hawaii with ArcBest®

ArcBest® is one of few logistics providers with its own facility and warehousing space in Honolulu. Our 20,000-square-foot, 45-door facility is less than a half-mile from the port, which allows for prompt delivery and storage options. ArcBest offers:

  • Twice-weekly sailings (Wednesday and Saturday) from our port in Pico Rivera, California, to Honolulu.
  • Outer-island shipments are consolidated and loaded directly at the Pico Rivera port for more efficient handling in Honolulu.
  • Single freight bill that lists domestic, ocean and island delivery charges in an easy-to-read format.
  • Complete shipment visibility and tracking from origin to destination.

Learn more

With dedicated sales support and the flexibility required for shipping to Hawaii, ArcBest has The Skill and The Will® to handle your freight. To get a quote or speak to a Hawaii shipping representative, email or call 810-610-5544.