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Shipping a Car by Air to Hawaii

Discussion in 'Hawaii' started by Bob in Makiki, Jul 22, 2017.

  1. Bob in Makiki

    Bob in Makiki Formula Junior
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    May 30, 2017
    362
    Honolulu
    I just shipped my 2003 Ferrari 360 Spider from the east coast, using Intercity Lines to get it to LA, and flying it from LA to Honolulu on Pacific Air Cargo. Previously, I had never really considered shipping a car to Hawaii by air, and I thought this might be of interest to others.

    If you are shipping a car to Hawaii, I can’t really recommend air cargo — there are too many individual considerations that one must weigh. But I can say that you should at least consider it as an option. In this case, I was pleased with my decision.

    First, the price. It is obviously more expensive. Shipping by sea, the way I would have wanted to do it, would have cost me about $5,000. Shipping by air cost me about $7,000. Yes, I know you can ship a car from the east coast to Hawaii for $2,100 or so. And if you are shipping a Honda Accord, that is probably the way you should do it. For the reasons I will discuss, it was worth the extra money to me to go with Pacific Air Cargo, in this instance. That does not mean I would necessarily do it that way in the future, but I would certainly consider it.

    This was not my first rodeo. At this point, I have shipped four exotic cars to and from Hawaii.

    The first time I used Matson Lines. With Matson, cars sit in the open before being put on the ship, they are in the open for the ocean voyage (semi-sheltered, as I recall — I could be wrong about that), and they sit in the open at the dock when they arrive in Honolulu. When I shipped my Porsche 911 on Matson, they dropped a wrench or something heavy through the back window. The car arrived open to the elements, with a plastic sheet where the back window should have been. I was lucky, really. If the wrench had fallen a foot or two further up the car, it would have damaged the roof instead. Glass can be replaced easily; Porsche factory paint can be matched but rarely duplicated.

    The next two times, for a ’62 Jag E-type and a ’53 Bentley, I used Pasha. I was reasonably well pleased. They insisted on working with Intercity Lines, and handled the process from end to end. The cars travel enclosed over the sea, but as I recall are stored outside at the docks. Still, the process went smoothly enough.

    But this time, Pasha seems to have changed its business model: they would no longer work with Intercity, although I could make separate arrangements if I cared to do so. And this time Pasha made clear that they accepted no responsibility for the car. If I wanted insurance, they would sell me insurance at significant expense, with the cost proportionate to the value of the car. (I’m not sure I understand that business model — Intercity accepts full responsibility for all the cars they transport, I don’t know why Pasha is so adamant that they accept no responsibility for the cars they ship now.) Your comprehensive insurance may, or may not, cover transport of your car. But I was left feeling uncomfortable about the whole thing. And shipping with them and Intercity, including Pasha’s insurance, was roughly $5,000 for my car.

    So, I called Pacific Air Cargo. My hope was that they would take better care of the car. And sure enough, when I went to pick it up, it was in an enclosed warehouse, sitting off by itself surrounded by orange safety cones. Just the sort of white glove treatment I had hoped for, and was willing to pay for.

    You can check prices for Pacific Air Cargo on the Internet, but it is much better to telephone them and talk to the folks in California (not Hawaii) who schedule auto shipping. In my case, I told them they could ship the car at any time in a five day window — I didn’t really care. So, they gave me a better deal for that. And apparently I was shipping at a time when they thought they would likely have extra capacity, so they gave me a break on the price for that, too. This could be particularly significant if you are shipping a car from Hawaii to the mainland: I think we ship a lot more stuff into Hawaii than we ship back to the mainland, so the cost of shipping a car by air back to the mainland could be even less. On the other hand, if you want to ship around Christmas, when the plane is probably full, be prepared to pay top dollar for the privilege. Anyway, it is worth asking.

    As I said, the real reason I wanted to ship with them was to make sure the car was well taken care of. And I felt like it was. For example, whenever I called, they knew immediately about my car and its status. It was not one among thousands, it was the Ferrari they were shipping that week and they knew it by name. That’s what I was paying for!

    Suppose you ship by sea and, as happened to me, a wrench gets dropped on your car. What insurance will cover that damage? Will any paint job ever match the original factory paint? How will that repair look in several years when you want to sell the car? What would you be willing to pay to minimize the risk of that occurrence? I can’t answer any of those questions for you, but asking myself those questions, in this case, was why I decided to ship by air.

    As you may recall, I flew to Virginia to see the car and to get it loaded on the truck by Intercity. I planned in a week or so to then fly home to pick it up. As it turned out, Pacific Air Cargo put the car on their 747 the day after they got it, and it arrived at the airport two days before I did! So, when I landed at HNL, I took a taxi around the airport on Lagoon Drive to Pacific Air Cargo, picked up the Ferrari, and drove it home for the first time (swinging by Toledo Scales on the way home to get it weighed, as you may recall from my post on registering the car).

    The car is with Velocity now, for annual maintenance. I am looking forward to getting it back, when all is done, and actually trying to learn how to drive the thing! So far I have only made it from the airport to home, and then to Velocity. I think it is going to be an interesting car to learn to drive.

    In summary — if you are shipping an exotic to or from Hawaii, at least consider air freight. You may or may not decide to use it, but it is worth a quick call to get a quote, at the least.
     
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  2. renman95

    renman95 Karting

    Jul 16, 2016
    149
    Oahu, leeward side
    Full Name:
    D8LF
    Thanks for all the info. It's been three years since I shipped my last car, Porsche. Seems like a few things have changed. I've considered FedEx, the company I fly for, I asked if they would ship mine...we don't ship cars was the answer(?) I've seen cars shipped, or I should say, I've seen cars on our ramp, palletized, ready for shipping. I can't ever remember having one on my plane (777) that I know of. Sometimes when we show up at the plane it's already loaded, so who knows...
     
  3. Bob in Makiki

    Bob in Makiki Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 30, 2017
    362
    Honolulu
    That's interesting! One reason -- which I am sure you will understand better than I do -- is that a car is apparently a Hazardous Material, which I didn't think FedEx would ship.

    With Pacific Air Cargo, I was required to have a Hazardous Material form filled out. Not wanting to mess that up myself, I paid an expert firm about $150 to do that for me. Pacific Air Cargo made all the arrangements for that for me.

    Again, you probably know a lot more about that sort of thing than I do.
     
  4. ReinD

    ReinD Formula Junior

    Sep 16, 2010
    464
    Thanks for sharing your experience! It's hard to put a value on "peace of mind" so its definitely worth the extra expense.

    A friend of mine shipped his classic foreign car here by boat several years ago and it "mysteriously" caught fire while they were trying to start it after it arrived. I forget the exactly details of who was doing the repairs, but my friend wasn't involved. Because it was a classic, it took FOREVER to get the parts and it seemed like he would never see the car again. And when he did get the car, some of the parts were for a different model year.
     
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  5. tritone

    tritone F1 Rookie
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    Dec 8, 2003
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    Bob -
    Interesting experience. It can vary!

    Couple of years ago I investigated shipping one of my classic boats, a 27 ft on a 35 ft trailer, from Seattle WA to Milan, Italy. RORO by sea, shrink wrapped on its trailer, was $18,000, 24 days, including an unspecified number of days in the open on the docks at either end; my insurance company declined to cover it.

    Airfreight, shrink wrapped and palletized (on the AC company pallet) was (are you sitting down?) $78,000 with 2 aircraft changes, or $89,000 direct to Milan. Insurance company said OK, for a 1x charge of $20,000. I declined the offer, and went to Italy sans boat!

    In contrast, airfreighting a car seems doable....
     
  6. Bob in Makiki

    Bob in Makiki Formula Junior
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    May 30, 2017
    362
    Honolulu
    Thanks James, that's a very interesting story! I wonder what shipping a car by air across the Atlantic would be?

    I gather the air freight cost of a car, to or from Honolulu, can vary a lot depending upon the load they are experiencing at the time.
     
  7. Kevin Rev'n

    Kevin Rev'n F1 World Champ
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    Nov 29, 2009
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    Great to get the results you EXPECT! FYI I heard that it is about 3K to ship from Hawaii to mainland via air cargo...or at least it was about 4 years ago. The planes usually go back that way lighter than they come in!
     
  8. Bob in Makiki

    Bob in Makiki Formula Junior
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    May 30, 2017
    362
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    Yep. I heard a price even less than that, for exactly the reason you mention. But I didn't explore that yet. I'm hoping to keep the 360 Spider for a little while, before I need to figure that out! (The guy I bought it from in Virginia wants it back when I am done . . . so I may need to sort that out someday.)
     
  9. Sprywheels

    Sprywheels Rookie

    Oct 20, 2017
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    Andrew WIlkinson
    Wow that is pricey, but I suppose it is a better option for higher end cars. I've used a1 auto transport within the continental U.S. (not by plane obviously) and they were a good option. Might be another option worth exploring since they also ship to Hawaii.
     
  10. Hannibal308

    Hannibal308 F1 Rookie
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    I've shipped four cars between Hawai'i and San Diego in the past 18 months, all with Pasha. I never paid more than $900 and not one car sat anywhere more than two days. They were always picked up just as clean as I delivered them, and Pasha always knew where my cars were and exactly when they would arrive. I guess if I were shipping a 288 GTO, I'd think about other options, but for a 360...I think it's a robust enough car to sit outside for a day or two and not melt. That said, cool write up and glad it worked as you envisioned!
     
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  11. Bob in Makiki

    Bob in Makiki Formula Junior
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    May 30, 2017
    362
    Honolulu
    If I were shipping to the West Coast, I think Pasha would probably be fine. And when, in the past, they would work with Intercity to pick the car up and move it to the East Coast, that worked fine for me, too. But this time around I had two problems with Pasha: (1) they wanted to use their own trucks on the mainland, and I had no record of how well that new system was working, and (2) they had a strict disclaimer of basically any liability unless I bought their insurance. Once I priced in their insurance, it was just about as cheap to fly the cars over.

    So, I'm glad you had a good experience with them. I might reconsider depending upon where I was sending a car. In this case, I'm happy I shipped by air.
     
  12. jlonmark

    jlonmark F1 Rookie

    Mar 29, 2005
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    I no longer use Matson. Pasha is much better!
     
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  13. 808Forza

    808Forza Formula Junior
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    Jan 5, 2013
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    Gil
    I agree. Additionally with specialty cars, you can pick up straight from the pier so no one drives it to their delivery site. I have one I should be picking up next month... hopefully!
     
  14. spicedriver

    spicedriver Formula 3

    Feb 1, 2011
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    But they do drive it off the ship, and joy ride around the docks as fast as they can.
     
  15. 808Forza

    808Forza Formula Junior
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    That's a given and there's so much you can do, hence why they're insured
     
  16. jlonmark

    jlonmark F1 Rookie

    Mar 29, 2005
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    Much like valet parking, or rental cars- the temptation to drive a car that you will never own.... And possibly do things to it that you would not normally do to your own car, or know that it is probably pretty bad. I brought my Z06 Corvette back from the Islands to CA and the rear tires were bald. I cringe thinking about how many burnouts my car must have done. At least it was the Corvette and not the Ferrari. Sadly, there is no way to stop temptation
     
  17. sampelligrino

    sampelligrino Formula Junior

    Apr 16, 2017
    714
    Just wanted to bump this and say thanks Bob as this thread has been helpful for me

    I'm considering buying a 458 and currently live in LA, but the plans would be to have the car at some point next year end up back home in Hawaii when I move back

    I've shipped a number of cars between west coast and Hawaii (mostly Porsches), first Matson and now Pasha who I like much better. But like Bob, for the Ferrari I'd likely be willing to spend a bit more for the peace of mind that the car will be transported very quickly via air, rather than sit outside at the port, load onto boat, 7+ days on the boat in the ocean, someone loads off the boat, sits at port, then I pick up... Contacted Pacific Air Cargo and they can't give me a quote that far in advance but seems to be around 7-8K compared with the 1.8K for the Pasha premium service.
     
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  18. Bob in Makiki

    Bob in Makiki Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 30, 2017
    362
    Honolulu
    Hey Sam, we will look forward to having you and your car here in Hawaii. We have a new and active Ferrari Club chapter here, and I hope you will join us.

    I also posted a thread on the mechanics of getting a mainland Ferrari registered here in Hawaii, which you might find helpful. It is a little trickier than with a Porsche, because Ferraris are unusual enough that the government here won't have weights and the like. All easily solved, but extra steps you may not have had to mess with before. It can be done!

    Aloha!
    Bob
     
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