How to Become a Freight Broker in Hawaii

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How to Become a Freight Broker in Hawaii

Freight brokers are transportation professionals with the expertise to connect shippers with carriers to move freight from one location to its destination.

Freight brokering offers unlimited opportunities for entrepreneurial types and is an excellent fit for those individuals who are organized, have an interest in the field of logistics, and work well with others in a problem-solving capacity.

Freight Broker Duties in Hawaii

Freight brokers are tasked with the responsibility of arranging and coordinating the transport of goods – locally, domestically, and internationally.

Unlike their counterparts, freight brokers in Hawaii tend to rely more on the ocean or air transportation.

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Freight moves through the Honolulu port and then dispersed to more than 130 islands that make up Hawaii’s archipelago.

Freight brokers are vitally important to ensuring the Hawaiian economy is functioning at its capacity.

Their professional duties when working in Hawaii include:

  • Negotiating shipping rates and timeframes.
  • Remaining compliant with freight laws at the federal level and state level, if applicable. Much of a freight broker’s training involves exploring relevant federal regulations and procedures as set forth by the  FMCSA – the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration49 CFT 371.

It is noted that freight brokers do not actually handle shipments; that is the job of a freight forwarder.

Freight brokers may choose to work with freight agents who are NOT bonded or licensed like a freight broker must be in Hawaii.

Licensing Requirements to Become a Freight Broker in Hawaii

While some professionals (i.e., real estate brokers or insurance agents, etc.) are required to obtain a state-issued professional license, a freight broker in Hawaii is only required to hold an FMCSA issued federal license to work within the law.

There are only a few steps to becoming a licensed freight broker in Hawaii, with the basic required applicants to have a high school diploma/GED equivalent and be at least 18 years old.

In addition, it is recommended (not mandated) to complete a specialized training program, which can be followed by TIA’s Certified Transportation Broker exam –valuable certification.

Freight broker classes are fortunately available in-person or online by local post-secondary or professional schools.

The coursework, depending on the program, may last a day or a few months.

Typically, classes include the exploration of federal regulations, marketing, and managerial tasks, invoicing, contract preparation, and understanding the varying transportation types.

Set up and register your selected business entity, as required by Hawaii law

There are several business entities available to establish a freight brokering business.

They range from Sole Proprietor to an LLC, a Partnership, or Corporation, among others.

The type of entity selected is based on various strategic aspects, like taxes, payroll, personal protection, ownership, and simplicity of operation.

File for a License

The next step in this process is to submit a completed application to the FMCSA – the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for a freight brokerage license.

The following forms must be submitted:

  • #1 Operating Authority (OP-1) – requires a $300 fee.
  • #2 – Proof of Surety Bond or Trust Fund (BMC-84) – in an amount of at least $75,000.
  • #3 – Acknowledges a legal agent in each of the contiguous 48 states for the purpose of legal papers service. This acknowledgment requires a $50 filing fee.

First-time applicants can use the online Unified Registration System to be issued an Interstate Operating Authority MC Number.

Freight Broker Programs in Hawaii

The following offers a few of the available Hawaii freight broker training programs in Hawaii:

Salary Information for Hawaii Freight Brokers

Freight broker salaries vary based on the broker’s skill, industry experience, and reputation.

Their commission ranges from 10% to 35% of the load value. reveals that the average salary for a freight broker in 12/2021 was $33,462.

The Bureau of Labor Services includes freight brokers within cargo and freight agents – with a median 2020 salary of $43,770.

According to the BLS’ Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), there were nearly 1,200 freight broker jobs in Hawaii, in May 2020, with an average salary per year of $36,990 – the highest concentration of freight brokers of any state!

In 2020, there were approximately 700 freight brokers working in the greater urban Honolulu, with a median annual income of $38,810 per year.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Honolulu $54,678
Hilo $54,309
Kailua $54,678
Kaneohe $54,678
Waipahu $54,653
Pearl City $54,678
Hakalau $54,309
Mililani Town $54,580
Kahului $54,309
Kihei $54,309

Regional Salary in Hawaii

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI240$41,990$20.19$61,780$31,200
Urban Honolulu, HI980$42,920$20.63$79,820$26,680
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Cargo and Freight Agents, OCC Code 43-5011, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Hawaii require a business to register and comply with Hawaii tax registration rules?

Yes – the Business Registration Division in the State’s Dept. of Commerce & Consumer Affairs.

Are there fees required to register a business in Hawaii?

Yes, although the exact fee varies, based on the type of entity being registered – typically ranging from $25 to $50.

How often does a freight brokerage business registered with the state have to renew its registration?

Hawaii’s business licenses renew each year.

USA Freight Broker License by State

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