Ulupono Initiative
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Costs of Transporting Fresh Fruits and Vegetables to Honolulu from Hilo and Los Angeles

by Hazel Parcon, Matthew Loke, and PingSun Leung, March 2010.

This study analyzes Hawaii’s dependence upon ocean and air freights to meet its food needs. Furthermore, the rising cost of oil over the past two decades have increased food costs and have added to Hawaii residents already high cost of living. Overall, ocean transportation is cheaper but slower than air freight. Also, while ocean shipping costs from Hilo to Honolulu are cheaper than the cost from Los Angeles to Honolulu, air freight from Hilo is at least twice as expensive as air freight from Los Angeles. When the transported product is low-value, ocean shipping is normally used, whereas when the product is high-value, air freight is normally used. Thus, as oil price rises, lower value items from Los Angeles are less likely to be shipped, which can open up Hawaii farmers to fill that void.

Source: ctahr.hawaii.edu