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Services help cut costs of shipping items to isles


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POSTED: Wednesday, December 09, 2009

If you have already completed your online shopping for the holidays, read further at your own peril.

Hawaii residents can save arms, legs and firstborn children in terms of cost, rather than pay painful prices for shipping from online retail companies.

Such costs spurred then-Oahu resident Andrew Riehemann to establish the membership-based ShipToHawaii.com in 2004.

Members of his freight forwarding service have online purchases and more sent by the e-tailer to ShipToHawaii (or ShipToAlaska) consolidators that will ship to either state by air or by sea, with ocean service established in the past year.

“;Ocean service is becoming the backbone of the company,”; he said.

Commercial and residential clients have shipped “;prefabricated warehouses, wood chippers, boat trailers, tires, rims, lots of furniture, household goods (for people moving to Hawaii), stone, tile, AstroTurf. The list goes on and on.”;

It proved a good addition. While the Alaska side of the business grew, Hawaii sales were down from last year.

However, “;the economy actually brought us some new members looking to save on their shipping costs.”; Oahu customers pick up their purchases at Aala Ship Service near Pier 42.

For the commitment-averse, there are pay-as-you-go services including Aloha Forwarding LLC and Ship & Save, both launched last year.

Aloha Forwarding was established by former Hawaii resident Darrell Houghton and his wife, also based on frustration with high shipping costs.

Likewise, Ship & Save was started by Shelly Bansberg of Missouri, who learned of high shipping charges to Hawaii and Alaska while on a isle mission trip. Her mother, Sharon Garretson, a retired Methodist pastor, bought the business when Shelly and her husband relocated earlier this year.

It is her post-ministry ministry. “;It's rewarding,”; she said.

Aloha Forwarding's customer count has quadrupled since last year and has expanded to package recipients in Guam, Saipan and, of all places, Russia.

While he had an average of 10 pending forwarding requests at a time last holiday season, his quadrupled customer count has resulted in an average of 15 pending forwarding requests. He thinks that is because people just aren't buying as much online.

Nevertheless he believes the company is in good position for when the economy picks up.

ON THE NET: >> shiptohawaii.com; shiptoalaska.com; ssshiak.com; alohaforwarding.com