We love Hawaii freight. Ingrained deep in our company culture is the long history, tradition, and practice of moving goods to the Hawaiian islands. We’ve spent generations building strong ties to Hawaii and aim to “Be ‘Ohana” in our business each day. The Approved ‘Ohana encompasses all of our team members and clients on and off the islands, and this concept informs everything we do as a company.

But we know the Hawaii market can get confusing. If you aren’t familiar with the Hawaiian Islands, or you are new to the ocean freight industry, knowing where Nawilili or Kaumalapau Harbors can be tough. Here is a list of 10 ports in Hawaii, what they are used for, and why each is particularly awesome!


Honolulu Harbor Oahu

honolulu harbor

Quick Overview

Also known as Kulolia and Ke Awa O Kou, Honolulu Harbor is the central hub for most shipments to and from the Hawaiian Islands.

What is Honolulu Harbor used for?

Almost everything is funneled through Honolulu, with a bulk of that cargo being distributed to stores and warehouses throughout the island of Oahu. Each year Honolulu harbor processes over 8 million tons of cargoMaking it one of the United States’ busiest ports. Not too shabby for a small island 2,500 miles off the coast of California!

Approved has 3 locations on Oahu which allow us to manage our client’s freight with care, no matter where it is headed.

Why is Honolulu Harbor awesome?

Having locations right next to the port, we’re partial to the beautiful view of the commercial harbor. Always bustling with activity, it’s a great place to watch the ships roll in and out. For a relaxing lunch and fresh seafood, check out Uncle’s Fish Market & Grill  – which overlooks the water.


Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor Oahu

kalaeloa barbers point

Quick Overview

The population in and around Kalaeloa Barbers Point is small – only 48 in 2010 – and occupies the location of the former Naval Air Station Barbers Point.

What is Kalaeloa Barbers Point used for?

Plans to expand and improve Kalaeloa Barbers Point over the next 25 years have been developed in the Kalaeloa Master Plan 2040. We’re looking forward to seeing how this harbor expands in the coming years.

Why is Kalaeloa Barbers Point awesome?

Aside from the quaint lighthouse and crashing surf (pictured above), Barbers Point has an interesting history. It was given its name after  Captain Henry Barber wrecked his ship on a coral shoal at this location on October 31, 1796. There’s a great Halloween costume idea for sure.


Kewalo Basin Oahu

kewalo basin piont

Quick Overview

Located in Honolulu’s Kaka’ako District between Ala Moana Beach Park and Kaka’ako Waterfront Park

What’s is Kewalo Basin Point used for?

Kewalo Basin Point is used mostly for commercial fishing fleets and is home base for many tourist charters and excursion vessels. While your freight might enter through Honolulu Harbor, this is where you’ll go if you want to hop on a tour.

Why is Kewalo Basin Point awesome?

It offers myriad activities for tourists with a penchant for adventure; like parasailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and even a pirate ship. Yes, a pirate ship. Hop aboard an 89-foot black galleon and get your Johnny Depp on.



Kahului Harbor Maui

kahului bay

Quick Overview

Kahului Bay is the gateway to the breathtaking “Valley Isle,” one of the most popular destinations for happy honeymooners and tourists looking for an escape.

What is Kahului Bay used for?

Commercial freight enters this harbor by way of steamship lines like Pasha Hawaii and Matson. Cruise ships unload tourists from Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Almost everything and everyone coming to Maui will make their way through Kahului Bay. Even the airport (Kahului Aiport, obviously) is close to the Harbor.

Approved Freight’s Maui terminal is located just 2 miles from the harbor. This makes pick-up and drop-off of containers and consolidations a breeze. We offer drayage to and from the port, and can de-consolidate at our modern facility, to prep freight for its final destination.

Why is Kahului Bay awesome?

Surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and lounging. Kahului is a great place to unwind. It is one of the few places in the world that actually exceeds the hype. Even the pictures can’t do the beauty of the Valley Isle justice. You have to see it to believe it.



Kaunakakai Harbor Molokai

kaunakakai harbor

Quick Overview

In relative size and volume to other ports in Hawaii, Kaunakakai Harbor seems small. But don’t let it this deceive you – the port on Molokai is a vital piece of the local economy.

What is Kaunakakai used for?

Commercial freight and cargo, recreational activities, and commercial fishermen all use Kaunakakai Harbor as a hub.

Approved Freight can schedule inter-island transportation from Honolulu to Molokai. Although our assets are on Oahu, Maui, Hawai’i, and Kauai, we have trusted partners who provide logistics service to our clients

Why is Kaunakakai awesome?

In the mid-1800s, King Kamehameha V spent some of his summers in a home named Ala Malama. The main strip in Molokai is named after the Great King’s summer getaway.



Kaumalapau Harbor Lanai

kaumalapau harbor

Quick Overview

Kaumalapau Harbor is located on the westward side of the Lanai, which is known as The Pineapple Island. Interestingly, in 2012, Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle) purchased a 97% share of the island from Castle & Cooke Inc.

What is Kaumalapau used for?

Similiar to Kaunakakai Harbor on Molokai, Kaumalapau is the main port for commercial and recreational vessels. Inter-island shipments usually go through Kaumalapau Harbor, where

Why is Kaumalapau awesome?

For years, the harbor was used to ship out Lanai’s pineapple crop to consumers. The entire island was pineapple plantations, which generated a large percentage of the world’s source of delicious fruit. Just off the West coast of Maui, Lanai is a popular destination for charter cruises.


Hawai’i – The Big Island

Hilo Harbor Hawaii

hilo bay

Quick Overview

Hilo Bay is on the east side of the Big Island’s coast and is managed by Hawaii’s Department of Transportation.

What Hilo Bay used for?

The port at Hilo Bay is a full-service commercial center and is used to dock cruise ships, unload inter-island Hawaii freight, and a destination for international cargo ships and containers.

Approved Freight’s location is just a 15-minute drive from the Bay, making it simple to dray containers from the port. Our team is in constant contact with our main facility in City of Industry, CA.

Why is Hilo Bay awesome?

Just 30 miles from Kilauea, Hilo has been a part of the news cycle in 2018. The people of Hilo have responded to the devastation caused by the eruption with amazing grace. With Aloha Spirit, volunteers and locals of Hilo have reached out to their neighbors in need and are the true embodiment of what it means to Be ‘Ohana.


Kawaihae Harbor Hawaii

kawaihae harbor

Quick Overview

On the leeward side of the Big Island, Kawaihae Harbor services the people and businesses in and around Kona. Just beyond a man-made breaker is a perfect surf spot for locals and tourists.

What is Kawaihae used for?

Logistics providers bring freight into the port at Kawaihae Harbor. Like many of the ports in Hawaii, commercial shipping and charters are the bulk of the activity at Kawaihae. Each port is important in providing supplies and resources to the populations of the islands. As a set of islands, the ports in Hawaii and the infrastructure around fuels (sometimes literally) the economy.

Approved has its own location and assets in Kona. We also have trucks to complete drayage and delivery, a warehouse and team to transload, and a support center to provide updates along the way.

Why is Kawaihae Harbor awesome?

Kawaihae Harbor was the seat of the Kingdom of Hawaii during the reign of King Alapaʻinuiakauaua. For centuries, Kawaihae has had a major role in Hawaiian culture.



Nawiliwili Harbor Kauai

nawiliwili harbor

Quick Overview

Just south of Lihue airport, on the magnificent island of Kauai, is Nawiliwili Harbor. Nawiliwili is fed by Hule’ia Stream, a popular location for paddling and kayaking. History tells us, that Nawiliwili was the physical and cultural and heart of the area when Captain James Cook arrived in 1778. It continues to play an important role in the community.

What is Nawiliwili used for?

Beginning in 1930, Nawiliwili has been a busy port for ocean freight and tourist ships. Approved ships consistently to Nawiliwili on Kauai from our freight terminals on the Mainland and Oahu.

Why is Nawiliwili awesome?

Aside from being super-fun to say, Nawilili was the backdrop for the film, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. If you are ever on Kauai, stop by the bay to see if you can drum up some Harrison Ford nostalgia.


Port Allen Harbor Kauai

port allen harbor

Quick Overview

Nestled on the southern coast of Kauai is the lesser-known of the two ports on the island: Port Allen Harbor. As one of the wettest places on Earth, Kauai has lush green mountains and forests, and the coast offers amazing sports fishing and diving.

What is Port Allen used for?

Port Allen Harbor’s main use is docking cruises and charter boat docking and is a popular stop for the Na Pali coast cruises and Island of Niihau adventures.

Why is Kawaihae Harbor awesome?

If you don’t want to brave the Pacific waters in search of dinner, Port Allen Harbor is close to the largest coffee producer in Hawaii. Just over the road in Ele’ele resides the Kauai Coffee Company. We recommend stopping by their visitor center and trying to score some coffee. It’s some of the best we’ve had…and we drink a lot of coffee to keep us moving forward each day.


These 10 ports in Hawaii are profoundly important to the people and economies of the islands. From the bustling commercial Harbor in Honolulu to the sleepy but beautiful Port of Allen, each location keeps store shelves stocked and businesses running. It is an honor to work with the wonderful businesses and people of Hawaii. Approved Freight is looking forward to keeping the ports busy with consolidations and full-container-loads for years to come. If you have a question on shipping to one of these ports, you can ask our team for some information here

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