The events of 2020 have resulted in changes to logistics and supply chain operations around the globe, maybe nowhere more notably than air freight, which has experienced significant capacity crunches and rate volatility this year.

Ultimately, the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted just about every mode of transportation available. To give you some additional perspective on the current state of logistics, we wanted to share a quick update on what we’re seeing in Hawaii freight. Below, you’ll find our observations around recent freight trends and changing procedures, as well as few suggestions for handling them as they relate to your supply chain.

Construction Remains Strong

Over the last few months, we’re continuing to see a significant volume of both construction materials and construction equipment flowing into the state.

The likely recipients of this material? Restaurants and other establishments who are renovating their operations to accommodate COVID concerns. Additionally, several hotels and resorts in Hawaii have decided to use this time to complete long-planned renovations. In normal times, a hotel or resort might choose to rehab their facilities in phases to continue receiving guests (and taking in revenue) while renovations take place. However, since the 14-day quarantine has reduced tourism to a trickle, several properties have announced longer closures in order to renovate their entire properties in one fell swoop. Notable resorts undergoing these types of projects include the Halekulani in Waikiki (closed until July 2021) and the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the Big Island (closed until December 1).

Inside Deliveries May Be Limited

Businesses used to inside delivery of their freight have been seeing some changes in delivery procedures. Some providers have limited their services to curbside deliveries only. Others are simply not offering inside deliveries to new customers, and still, others may require some kind of questionnaire about each business’s safety precautions before agreeing to inside delivery.

Because the pandemic has affected each island differently, the availability of inside delivery will vary from location to location. However, as Hawaii continues to battle the spread of COVID, expect curbside deliveries for freight to become more and more common.

Freight Delivery Services Are Taking Precautions

Companies who deliver freight in Hawaii are also taking a number of precautions to protect the health of their staff, their customers, and the general public as they continue essential operations during the pandemic. Requiring drivers to wear masks, providing wipes to sanitize their equipment, and taking temperatures for staff are all becoming common practices.

Additionally, many companies are limiting staff access to their central warehouse and office locations in order to protect their teams and combat the potential spread of COVID. For example, whereas break rooms were formerly available for staff to eat meals, many companies have curtailed that practice. Others are changing their procedures around things like water coolers in order to eliminate potential infection points.

If you’re at all concerned with the measures your delivery company is taking to prevent the spread of COVID, our advice is simple: Just ask. Your provider will likely welcome the opportunity to share information around the measures they’re taking.

Will Call Procedures Have Changed

If you have chosen in the past to pick up your freight, rather than having it delivered, you’ve likely noticed a change in will-call procedures. Many operations are limiting access to warehouse and office space to staff members only, while restricting visitors. In some cases, when picking up freight, you may be asked to stay in your vehicle, with your mask on, call into the office and wait for a team member to come out and load your freight into your vehicle.

Additionally, whereas some forwarders used to permit shippers to bring freight to the warehouse and pack their lift vans on-premises, many have discontinued that practice. Instead, shippers are asked to come and pick up their crates, remove them for packing and bring them back full, with procedures for loading and unloading that may mirror the will-call procedures mentioned above.

If you planned to make use of either of the services mentioned above, make sure you talk with your freight forwarder to confirm procedures ahead of time—and make alternate arrangements as needed.

Traffic Is Light

One of the most visible effects of Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine policy—besides the lines of idle rental cars parked in various locations around the islands—has been the traffic. Commutes that used to take residents an hour (or two on a bad day!) are down to 20-30 minutes.

During this time, freight delivery trucks have enjoyed much easier navigation around most of the state’s roads, with fewer cars and fewer traffic jams to potentially impede on-time delivery. Businesses in busy areas, such as downtown Waikiki, are also finding it easier to receive their freight, with less congestion from other vehicles.

Questions Have Increased

Finally, we have one last observation from interactions with shippers: Inquiry volume has increased, especially surrounding delivery dates and times. In other words, many supply chain managers and business owners seem more concerned than ever about when their freight will arrive. We’re not sure whether it’s a trickle-down effect of the financial strain many businesses are feeling in these uncertain times, anxiety around Hawaii’s isolated position or a little bit of everything. These have been challenging times for business owners—no question.

However, contrary to initial rumors at the start of the pandemic, shipping lanes have remained open and operational and freight is moving regularly. If you find yourself at all concerned, reach out to us—or your freight forwarder—for confirmation of your freight’s timeline. The pandemic has put pressure on many businesses, and we’re committed to partnering with our customers to help them weather these times.

Hawaii Freight: Open for Business

As essential businesses, Hawaii freight companies will continue their operations as the state works to control the spread of COVID-19. If you have any questions or concerns about your Hawaii freight, reach out to your freight forwarder or carrier. They’ll be able to clarify any changes in procedures and confirm your timelines to help your business continue to move forward.




If you’d like to talk to one of our Hawaii freight experts, we’d be happy to help. Just reach out to us for a free consultation. We’ve been working closely with our customers across the state to keep their supply chains moving smoothly. We can help you make any adjustments you need to support your bottom line—and your business operations—now and into the future.

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