Alaska and Hawaii, Oh How We Love Thee…

Our 49th and 50th states are among our favorite shipping states. They arguably have the best scenery. If you’ve ever traveled to either of these states you know exactly what I mean. How can you beat Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska or the lesser traveled islands of Hawaii like Lana’i.

They both earned their statehood in 1959. They are our “youngest” states and with their geographical location and unique climates, each present their own set of unique shipping “challenges”. Whether you are in the military, a company relocating employees or a car dealer or just your “average Joe”, you want to make sure you do your homework before you ship.

Obviously you can’t drive a vehicle to Hawaii so you have the option to ship it by plane or boat. The vast majority of vehicles going to Hawaii are shipped by boat. Most will ship out of ports in California or Washington, typically out of Long Beach, Oakland or Seattle. You want to make sure you get all of the details from your shipping coordinator of exactly what you will need to make your shipment headache-free.

Among the things they will tell you to have ready will be a photo id, the current registration, the title to the vehicle and a letter of authorization to ship if there is a lien holder and it’s going to the mainland. If there is more than one owner then you will need a notarized written letter of permission from the absent party. If you are in the military and have orders to leave the islands of Hawaii and your vehicle has a lien holder, you may only need a copy of the title and current registration. Verify this with you shipping coordinator as rules and regulations do change.

You will want to wash your vehicle and have a complete set of keys for the ignition, doors, trunk, etc. The vehicle has to be in running condition with working brakes and must be licensed or qualified to be driven on public streets and/or highways. They typically will not accept vehicles that are damaged with loose parts, leaking fluids, cracked glass. If a vehicle is not operable, you might have the option to containerize it before shipping. You will want to make sure you remove all personal belongings. You will want to have the gas level at 1/4 tank or less. You will want to make sure that fire extinguishers, road flares, and propane tanks are removed as well. You should also take this time to find out the registration requirements of the destination so you don’t have headaches once the vehicle arrives.

Depending on where you are going in Alaska, you may have some or all of the requirements above. Alaska also presents the possibility of extreme cold so make sure the antifreeze in your vehicle is properly addressed. Keep in mind that shipping dates are always estimated no matter where you are shipping and getting an exact date is impossible as there can be uncontrollable circumstances such as extreme weather conditions.

Many people shipping to Alaska want to ship their firearms in their vehicle which is against federal regulations. In most cases it is recommended to contact a Federally licensed gun dealer.

In any case, make sure you ask lots of questions and pay attention to the details your shipping coordinator gives you. Make a checklist of everything and be sure that everything is checked off before its time to move your vehicle and your shipment can be relatively painless!


( Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) at SYCN Auto Logistics-Alchemist, blending the best technology, analytics & service available. )

Senior automotive logistics professional with a passion for the industry and a 10+ year history of accomplishments. Proven track record of exemplary client management working with both RMCs, Van Lines and OEMs. Keen ability to react to an ever-changing marketplace while offering superior technology solutions, programs and services. Architect of award winning auto transport portal technology offering transparency and agility to clients, agents and transferees. Successful team builder and leader easily managing budgets with effective leadership, strategic planning, and problem-solving capabilities.

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