Is your business unsure what to do about Hawaii?

You’re not alone. The logistics of transporting goods to Hawaii presents unique challenges for small and medium businesses that make it more costly to do business in Hawaii or that may even impede some businesses from offering products to Hawaii at all. Yet, Hawaii imports the majority of consumer goods it consumes. Everything from packaged food and paper products to machinery, textiles and equipment.

Perhaps you already offer and ship your products to Hawaii and want to lower your transportation costs or maybe you are just thinking about expanding your business to the Hawaii market. Either way this article will guide you through the variety of logistics services you’ll need to help you reach your goals.

There are only two ways to transport products and goods to Hawaii: via air cargo or via ocean freight and the one you use will affect your transportation cost. But there are many other options to consider regarding exactly how to get your orders from the mainland to their final destination in Hawaii that may help you lower cost and transportation time depending on the nature of your products and the volume and frequency of your orders.

Here are six types of logistics companies in Hawaii and a description of what they do.

  1. Nationwide Shipping Company, Courier or Postal Service
    Services like FedEx, UPS or USPS offer door-to-door pick-up and delivery of individual packages.
  2. Shipping Consolidator
    USPS has a list of approved consolidators that can combine your parcel(s) with other individual packages going to the same city and terminal, resulting in more efficient and potentially less costly transportation of each package.
  3. Freight Carrier
    The companies that actually operate the cargo vessels or airplanes that a transport goods across the Pacific. There are currently only two ocean freight carriers to Hawaii: Matson and Pasha. Then there are companies like Aloha Air Cargo that specialize in air cargo and some commercial airlines offer similar services.
  4. Freight Broker
    Brokers are specialists that can help you with the arrangement and management of your entire shipment from point of origin to final destination. They never take possession of the goods, but will coordinate every step of the way.
  5. Local Trucking Company or Courier
    Once your goods arrive to one of Hawaii’s ports or airports, a local trucking company such as Five Star Transportation can pick-up your goods and deliver them to their final destination(s). Five Star operates on all major islands of Hawaii and can pick up from any of Hawaii’s ports/airports. Click here to learn more about our trucking services.
  6. Third Party Logistics (3PL)
    Rather than filling and packing your orders in your mainland facility and sending each order individually to Hawaii, a 3pl company like Five Star can receive your products in bulk, break-down your pallet(s), store your goods securely and fulfill each order on the island where your customer is located. Because of our close proximity to your customer, you can even offer them same day delivery! For more information about our complete range of logistics services, visit our homepage.

To help you find which logistics solution(s) would offer the you lowest cost shipping option for your business, check out our Hawaii Logistics Guide infographic below. To view the full-sized version download here.