Inbound Logistics | April 2022

Logistics, offers overnight or two-day air service from Anchorage to Fairbanks and the Kenai Peninsula. Some of the westernmost villages are only accessible by air or ocean, so Span Alaska offers air cargo service to those points to ensure total state coverage. The proposed Anchorage Pacific Air-to-Sea Service (ANC PASS) will likely enhance air cargo’s viability and coverage. Under the proposal, shipments would fly via air charter from Asia to Anchorage, transload in Anchorage to ocean vessel (or truck for ANC PASS+), then head to Seattle/Tacoma, where they’d be transloaded to truck for final delivery. A study found cargo from Asia could travel to West Coast distribution facilities in as few as six to seven days, with the worst-case maximum of 15 to 19 days. “ANC PASS can offer shippers a medium-speed, medium-cost, transpacific option,” says Jim Szczesniak, airport director at Ted Stevens. Ocean Transport Provides Reliability About 90% of goods (outside of petroleum) heading into Alaska travel by ocean. The Port of Alaska in Anchorage handles about half of all inbound freight into Alaska and is one of 17 commercial strategic seaports in the United States, supporting military operations in Alaska, the Arctic, and across the Pacific Rim. Reliable service in Alaskan shipping operations is critical. If a part breaks or fails to work, trying to expedite a replacement can be a nonstarter, given limited supplies. For instance, Odyssey often has just a four-hour window to restock a cruise ship. “You can’t have problems,” Totah says. Along with cruise ships, Odyssey frequently works with oil and gas producers. Again, reliability is critical, given that the potential cost of downtime due to a delay can hit six figures per day, Totah notes. TOTE Maritime Alaska, which has been serving customers in Alaska since 1975, operates two cargo ships that transport goods to and from Tacoma, Washington, to Anchorage, Alaska,

1) Alaska is a logical refueling point between Asia and mainland United States. 2) Alaska is about 9.5 hours flying time to 90% of the industrialized world. 3) The sheer beauty of the state draws more than one million visitors each year. 4) Alaska is strategically located as a key trans-shipment hub for businesses targeting Asian, European, and North American markets, says McKallor of Lynden. 5) It’s likely one of a few places in which you can travel on ice roads. 6) The size of the state and lack of infrastructure mean many shipments must travel by a combination of transportation modes. Logistics providers need to be experts in connecting these together to offer a seamless experience. 7) In addition to harsh weather, Alaska is home to 70 potentially active volcanoes. Every year, more than 5,000 earthquakes rock the state. Carriers have to plan for contingencies in case the weather or topography—or both—decide not to cooperate. 8) Alaska is, for most logistical purposes, an island. 9) One challenge with most ocean shipments to and from Alaska is the inability to fill backhaul trips. Boats carrying food, apparel, and other items to Alaska typically return empty, as do the tankers hauling commodities from Alaska. Fronthaul shippers bear the entire cost of the roundtrip, boosting prices on many retail items. 10) Parts of the state are so remote, GPS and cell service is questionable. Truckers and other drivers need to be prepared to handle any event on their own.

48 Inbound Logistics • April 2022

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