Tips for Businesses Shipping to Hawaii

Although Hawaii is part of the United States, the group of islands is a considerable distance from the contiguous 48 states, and therefore, requires special shipping considerations. In this blog, we'll provide best practices for shipping to Hawaii to help your business minimize expenses and maximize profit.

Tips for Shipping to Hawaii

Check requirements on shipping restricted items to Hawaii

The Hawaiian Islands enforce several restrictions on incoming freight containing food, live animals, or plants. These laws help to protect the environment on the eight islands from damage caused by foreign species. If you sell food, plants, or live items, you'll want to carefully research whether they're permitted. Also, items considered hazardous such as batteries, hand sanitizer, wine, etc, are subject to Hazmat shipping requirements, and Limited Quantity Hazmat must be declared. An MSDS sheet must accompany the BOL. Consult the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) website for up-to-date information on shipping plant material into Hawaii.

Invest time in devising your Hawaii shipping policy

Explore a range of service options for getting your product safely delivered to Hawaii.

Calculate your total shipping costs and structure them into your pricing. Review different approaches for offsetting your shipping costs in a way that entices customers and makes sales.

Shipping to Hawaii costs more money, and you are within your rights to charge Hawaiian recipients more to cover your costs. Should you choose to do so, make sure you let recipients know of the surcharge upfront to avoid having them feel misled or upset when they see their final shipping charges.

Scale your e-commerce shipping to Hawaii

Single package e-commerce is an excellent starting point for commercial shipping to Hawaii. But what happens when your orders ramp up? Scale brings its challenges. For shipping efficiencies and greater reach, contact a trusted 3PL for help with operations and designing supply chain solutions that work for you. Click here to request a shipping assessment.

Shipping to Hawaii FAQs

What methods can I ship to Hawaii?

UPS shipping to Hawaii allows parcels weighing up to 150 pounds. If your package weighs more than that, you will need to ship freight. Ocean freight is the cheapest, most common option for shipping freight to Hawaii. Your cargo arrives at a seaport to be loaded on a ship that sails from California in ocean containers. Air freight is a great option to get your freight to Hawaii faster, but increases the cost.

How long does it take for my shipment to get to Hawaii?

You can expect shipments to take longer to arrive to a customer in Hawaii than it would for a destination within the contiguous United States. Hawaii shipping takes a little longer due to shipment consolidation, sailing from the port, ocean transit time, off-loading, and island delivery. How long a shipment takes to get to Hawaii depends on the method of shipping, and how far away from California the shipment is traveling. Most shipments can make it to California in 5 business days or less, and then shipping UPS from California to Hawaii can take 4-10 days depending on the arrival port. For time-sensitive shipments UPS Express Critical® and UPS Next Day Air®. If urgency isn't a factor, UPS® Ground takes about 5 days.

Hawaiian time zones are another consideration when sending freight to the islands. The time in Hawaii typically runs several hours behind time zones within the contiguous states. You can determine the time difference by referencing the Hawaiian-Aleutian Standard Time Zone, abbreviated as HTC. Keep in mind that Hawaii does not observe daylight savings time when calculating the time zone difference.

Is liftgate service available on the islands?

Yes, please indicate liftgate service is needed for pickup or delivery on the Bill of Lading.

How much does it cost to ship to Hawaii?

Hawaii shipping costs can vary greatly depending on:

  1. what you're shipping (special handling and hazardous materials cost more)
  2. how heavy it is (check the NMFC code)
  3. where the shipment is coming from (shipments generally depart from California, so the farther you are from there, the more expensive it will be to ship)
  4. what mode of transportation it is taking to get there. (ocean will be the cheapest where expedited air will be the quickest, most expensive option)

What paperwork do I need for my business to ship to Hawaii?

A BOL is always required, There are a variety of documents needed depending on the product type, origin, and delivery locations. Additional documents may include:

  • Commercial invoice — for international
  • Packing list — for ocean freight
  • Certificate of origin — for international shipping to Hawaii
  • Air waybill — for air freight
  • Dangerous goods form — hazardous materials
  • Certificate of Origin (COO) — for international

Do shipments to Hawaii require a customs form?

You don't have to worry about preparing a customs declaration if you are shipping freight from any of the other states, including Alaska. However, you will need customs paperwork if shipping to Hawaii from outside of the 50 states.

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