Shipping Your Car From Hawaii to the Mainland

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Shipping Your Car From Hawaii to the Mainland

General Information.

Though it is one of the most beautiful parts of the United States, Hawaii presents a unique situation for those looking to ship automobiles since it is its own set of islands that aren’t connected to the mainland.

While this can seem intimidating to some, shipping your automobile from Hawaii to the Mainland United States isn’t that difficult of a process. The fact that it is a part of the United States means that many of the issues present when shipping from other islands aren’t present, such as language barriers, dubious customs agents, and so forth.

With A-1 Auto’s assistance, your vehicle can be shipped from multiple ports in Hawaii to your final destination in the United States. Our experience in this route means that you can be confident that the whole process will be done as professionally and judiciously as possible.

A-1 Auto Transport ships vehicles worldwide. Click here or call 1-800-452-2880 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote to ship your car.

Import Recommendations

Since it’s a part of the United States, you will not have to worry about tariff costs or any of the other costs associated with international shipping, despite the route going through international waters. Nonetheless, there are some unique requirements for those shipping from Hawaii, and you should make sure to give yourself extra time during the process, as it can take longer due to the travel distance.

The only recommended way to ship a vehicle from Hawaii to the mainland is through ocean freight transport. Being aware of where the ports are located in the state can help you to plan accordingly.

Shipping Requirements.

To import your automobile from Hawaii to the Mainland, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Copy of Valid Driver’s License.
  • Certificate of Ownership.
  • Certificate of Registration.
  • Notarized Letter from Registered Owner (if being shipped by someone else)
  • Notarized Letter from Lienholder (if lienholder is present on the Registration)

*Notarized Letters are only valid for up to 30 days.

In order to make sure that the process goes smoothly and that you don’t experience delays, you should also make sure that you prepare your automobile for the shipping process. The following guidelines should be followed:

  • Make sure the car’s gas tank is no more than a quarter full
  • Have the vehicle inspected to make sure that it meets all safety standards in the United States
  • Clean the vehicle of all of your personal belongings, including CDs, alarm systems, toys, trash, and so forth
  • Ensure that it has at least half a foot of ground clearance
  • Make sure that there’s a key provided for the ignition and all other compartments of the vehicle, as per the Department of Agriculture’s regulations

*A spare tire and car jack are allowed to be kept in the vehicle, as long as they are placed in its trunk.


Shipping Methods.

The two main ways to ship your car from Hawaii to the Mainland United States

  • Roll-On and Roll-Off Service.

This service is the most common, as you’ll find that some shipping companies will only offer this one. Even though it’s the cheapest method, it is still reliable and secure since it’s chained to a car deck on a freight ship. Your car will arrive safely and many preventive measures will be taken by shipping companies to ensure that your vehicle isn’t damaged.

  • Container Service.

The more expensive of the two methods, this one offers more security since your vehicle will be placed in its own special container. The delivery time can even be faster than the Roll-On and Roll-Off Service. If you have a particularly valuable vehicle, than this should be the method that’s seriously considered for the added safety and security that it provides. Be sure to specify the type of vehicle that you’re shipping in order to make sure that the container will be big enough to adequately hold it.

*Expect the shipping process to take between 1 to 3 weeks.

Main Ports of Departure / Arrival.

Hawaii is composed of 8 main islands, though there are many other smaller ones, with the main islands being Hawaiʻi, Maui, Oʻahu, Kahoʻolawe, Lanaʻi, Molokaʻi, Kauaʻi and Niʻihau.

The ports from Hawaii that you can ship from are located in:

  • Honolulu, O’ahu.
  • Nawiliwili, Kaua’i.
  • Kahulul, Maui.
  • Hilo, Hawai’i.
  • Kawalhae, Hawai’i.

The ports that your vehicle can be shipped to in the United States will all be located on the West Coast due to geographical reasons. The most common ports are:

  • Tacoma, Washington
  • Long Beach, California
  • Oakland, California

After arriving at its port, you will have to pick up the vehicle once it passes inspection and is approved by the appropriate officials. You will have the option of arranging delivery service straight to your final destination for an extra fee.

A-1 Auto can help you out with the entire process and get your automobile to the United States right away!

Joe Webster

Written by Joe Webster

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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