Interisland freight is a lifeline for the state of Hawaiʻi.

Interisland freight service keeps all of Hawaiʻi’s islands connected—Oʻahu, Maui, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kauaʻi, and the Big Island. Additionally, since Honolulu Harbor acts as a major freight hub for mainland and international freight, interisland freight transportation ultimately connects all of Hawaiʻi’s neighbor islands to the rest of the world.

If you need to move Hawaiʻi freight interisland, we’ll show you everything you need to know to ensure that your cargo moves safely, easily, and efficiently. The two main modes you’ll leverage for interisland cargo will be air freight and ocean freight. Trucking (over-the-road freight) also plays a role, by providing a vital link to airports and seaports. We’ll show you how to navigate each of these modes of transportation for a successful interisland freight shipment.

Hawaiʻi Interisland Shipping: Air Freight

For time-sensitive and high-value interisland shipments, air freight will be your best bet. It can be more expensive than ocean freight, but, for the right shipments, the speed is worth the cost.


Out of Hawaiʻi’s 15 commercial airports, nine process air cargo (listed in order of freight tons processed):

  • Oʻahu: Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)
  • Maui: Kahului Airport (OGG)
  • Big Island: Hilo International Airport (ITO)
  • Big Island: Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole (KOA)
  • Kauaʻi: Līhuʻe Airport (LIH)
  • Maui: Kapalua Airport (JHM)
  • Molokaʻi: Molokaʻi Airport (MKK)
  • Lānaʻi: Lānaʻi Airport (LNY)
  • Molokaʻi: Kalaupapa Airport (LUP)

Many commercial airlines that service Hawaiʻi carry cargo in the bellies of their passenger jets, including American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines.

When it comes to Hawaiʻi interisland air cargo, the main players in the market are Aloha Air Cargo (cargo only), Hawaiian Airlines Air Cargo (cargo/passenger flights), Kamaka Air (cargo only), Southwest Airlines (cargo/passenger flights), and TransairPacific Air Cargo (cargo only).

Note: Mokulele Airlines offers a limited counter-to-counter service for smaller shipments. Read more about their Wikiwiki Package Services.

Air Cargo: Your Two Options for Shipping Hawaiʻi Interisland Air Freight

As a shipper, you'll have two options for using Hawaiʻi interisland air cargo services:
  • You could go directly to these carriers. Going direct will require you to become a Known Shipper through the TSA. You’ll also be locked into each carrier’s individual schedules, and you’ll need to do the airport pick-ups and drop-offs yourself.
  • You could go through a freight forwarder. That eliminates the need for you, the shipper, to become a Known Shipper. Using a freight forwarder also gives you access to a number of different carriers’ schedules with a single phone call. Additionally, some freight forwarders offer door-to-door service for maximum convenience. If you’d like to try out the benefits of working with a freight forwarder for your Hawaiʻi interisland air cargo shipments, reach out to our team.

To give you a good lay of the land, we’ve listed Hawaiʻi’s major interisland air cargo carriers below, along with their interisland services:

Aloha Air Cargo

Available Interisland Air Freight Services:

  • Standard overnight
  • Next flight out
  • Economy (3-5 days)
  • Charter flights

Airports Served:

  • Honolulu (HNL)
  • Kahului (OGG)
  • Līhuʻe (LIH)
  • Hilo (ITO)
  • Kona (KOA)
  • Mainland connections available to Los Angeles (LAX) and Seattle (SEA)

Operating Days:

  • 7 days a week, although some locations are closed on Sundays

Aloha Airlines Website

Hawaiian Air Cargo

Available Interisland Air Freight Services:

  • Jet Express (next available flight)

  • Priority Shipping (within five hours)
  • General Shipping (by 7:00 am the next day)

Airports Served:

  • Honolulu (HNL)
  • Kahului (OGG)
  • Līhuʻe (LIH)
  • Hilo (ITO)
  • Kona (KOA)
  • Mainland and international connection available

Operating Days:

  • 7 days a week on more than 160 interisland flights daily

Hawaiian Air Cargo Website

Kamaka Air

Available Interisland Air Freight Services:

  • Charter service
  • Per-pound service with same-day delivery available

Airports Served:

  • Honolulu (HNL)
  • Kahului (OGG)
  • Līhuʻe (LIH) – Pick-up only
  • Molokaʻi Airport (MKK)

  • Lānaʻi Airport (LNY)
  • Kalaupapa Airport (LUP)
  • Hilo (ITO) – Charter only
  • Kona (KOA) – Charter only

Operating Days:

  • Charter flights available seven days a week to all islands

  • Per-pound service available Monday-Friday

Kamaka Air Website

Southwest Cargo

Available Interisland Air Freight Services:

  • Next Flight Guaranteed (next available flight)

  • Southwest Standard (next flight with available space)
  • Fresh Fast (perishables)

Airports Served:

  • Honolulu (HNL)

  • Kahului (OGG)
  • Līhuʻe (LIH)
  • Hilo (ITO)
  • Kona (KOA)
  • Mainland connections available

Operating Days:

  • 7 days a week; some shipments may move on Hawaiian Airlines

Southwest Cargo Website


Available Services:

  • Priority overnight service

  • Charter service

Airports Served:

  • Honolulu (HNL)

  • Kahului (OGG)
  • Līhuʻe (LIH)
  • Molokaʻi Airport (MKK)
  • Lānaʻi Airport (LNY)
  • Waimea-Kohala Airport (MUE)
  • Hilo (ITO)
  • Kona (KOA)
  • Mainland connections available to LAX via a partnership with Pacific Air Cargo

Operating Days:

  • 7 days a week

Transair Website

Interisland Air Freight Tips

To help make your next interisland air cargo shipment as smooth as possible, we put together three tips from our air freight experts:
  1. Know the Carrier’s Weight Limits – For example, Hawaiian Air Cargo will only accept shipments up to 150 lbs. Make sure you check with your carrier or your forwarder in advance so you can assemble your shipment accordingly.
  2. Take Special Care with Perishables – Many carriers require shippers to prepare perishable shipments for up to 48 hours of transit, even if the estimated transit time is much less. If you’re sending perishables interisland, make sure you follow your carrier’s guidelines to protect the integrity of your freight.
  3. Understand the Art of Packing Air Freight – Sturdy packaging is important to protect your interisland shipment in transit. (Don’t re-use cardboard boxes!) However, it’s also important not to over pack. Air freight shipments are measured by both volume and weight and, in many cases, your cost will be based on whichever one is greater. In other words, it’s in your best interest to keep your shipments as light as possible.

Hawaiʻi Interisland Shipping: Ocean Freight

Ocean freight offers a slightly slower—but more cost-effective—way to move interisland freight around Hawaiʻi. Young Brothers transports all of Hawaiʻi’s interisland ocean freight on their barges, moving more than 45,000 containers each month on average.

Young Brothers accepts the following kinds of shipments for interisland barge service:

  • Full container load (FCL) shipments (20-foot and 40-foot)
  • Refrigerated containers/reefers (20-foot and 40-foot)
  • Perishable loose shipments
  • Less-than-container load (LCL) shipments
  • Automobiles, motorcycles, and roll-on/roll-off equipment
  • Flatracks/platforms for oversized cargo or vehicles
  • Mixed cargo
  • Palletized cargo
  • Livestock shipments (reservations required)

Through their interisland barge service, Young Brothers offers twelve weekly roundtrip sailings to six neighbor island ports. The carrier uses the hub-and-spoke model, with Oʻahu as the hub. From Oʻahu, interisland ocean freight moves to Maui, Kauaʻi, the Big Island, Molokaʻi, and Lānaʻi.

Sailing Schedules from the Port of Honolulu, Oʻahu

  • Hilo, Big Island – Two weekly roundtrip sails
  • Kawaihae, Big Island – Two weekly roundtrip sails
  • Nāwiliwili, Kauaʻi – Two weekly roundtrip sails
  • Kahului, Maui – Three weekly roundtrip sails
  • Kaunakakai, Molokaʻi – Two weekly roundtrip sails
  • Kaumalapau, Lānaʻi – One weekly roundtrip sail

You’ll find the most up-to-date sailing schedules, including cut-offs and cargo availability, on the Young Brothers website.

Can You Ship Interisland Freight Between Neighbor Islands?

In other words, is it possible to send a shipment from Maui to Kauaʻi or from the Big Island to Lānaʻi?

Yes, although your freight will need to go through Oʻahu first. Once the barge arrives on Oʻahu, your cargo will be placed on a second barge to the destination island. This is also called transshipping.

Ocean Freight: Your Options for Shipping Hawaiʻi Interisland Cargo with Young Brothers

As a shipper, you have two options for moving interisland ocean freight:
  • You could go directly to Young Brothers. Some types of cargo will require reservations. All cargo will require proper packaging, labeling, and paperwork, all of which you’d need to handle yourself.
  • You could go through a freight forwarder. A freight forwarder can handle all of these details for you—and even arrange door-to-door service. In short, they’ll handle all the logistics so you don’t have to. If you’d like to talk to a forwarder about moving your interisland cargo, just reach out to our team.

Trucking: A Vital Link for Interisland Freight

Even though air freight and ocean freight are the workhorses that move Hawaiʻi interisland freight, we can’t forget trucking. Over-the-road transportation gets freight to and from Hawaiʻi’s seaports and airports. Additionally, if you choose pick-up or delivery, trucking offers a vital link between cargo origin and destination points.

There are a couple of things that make trucking in Hawaiʻi unique. One of the most important things to look for is a trucking provider with a number of different types of equipment. Road quality and width vary across the Hawaiian Islands, so a pick-up and delivery service that can match the vehicle with the conditions will mean quick, efficient, and safe movement of your freight.

Your Next Interisland Shipment, Made Simple

Now that you know the ins and outs of moving interisland freight in Hawaiʻi, you’re ready to move your first (or next!) shipment, simply and easily.

Our Hawaiʻi freight experts would be happy to assist with your next interisland freight project. Whether you need pick-up, delivery, air freight, or ocean freight services, we can assist. Just reach out to our team to get started with a free quote.

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