extreme weather and topography, which can occur amidst long stretches without cellphone service or GPS service. As a result, “each trucker will stop to help another over lonely stretches of road,” no matter which company they’re from, Prokop says. That’s especially true when traveling Alaska’s unique ice roads, which are built each winter to traverse land that’s otherwise too soft to drive on. By traveling the ice roads, trucks can proceed from Fairbanks up the Prudhoe Bay oil elds near the Arctic Ocean. Otherwise, deliveries have to be made via expensive air freighters. At the same time, “the drive can be treacherous,” , Prokop adds. Between about late September and through April, Span Alaska, one of the largest freight forwarders in Alaska, offers a “keep from freezing” or KFF service. Insulated containers for KFF goods maintain temperatures above the freeze point. “A signicant portion of freight moves within these insulated containers,” Johnson says. At times, Span Alaska heats its containers to keep them from freezing. Examples of products shipped this way include water-based paints and adhesives, and certain pharmaceuticals. Span Alaska, also recently initiated a chill/freeze offering and is growing this business to supply stores across Alaska, Johnson says. The chill/freeze service is primarily for perishable products, such as refrigerated groceries, produce, and meat. Focus on Technology Span Alaska also is “intensifying its focus on technology,” Johnson says. Among other initiatives, it’s implementing faster connections to carrier partners to automate the transmission of bills of lading and other documents. It’s also releasing a new customer portal and redesigning its website to improve the user experience. “Over the next year, we’ll be redeveloping our entire operating system so it’s easier and faster to connect to online,” he adds.
Matson operates three ships in the Alaska trade lane. The ships call in Anchorage and Kodiak twice each week and Unalaska once per week. Matson owns its own equipment and operates its own terminals in Tacoma, Anchorage, Kodiak, and Unalaska.
large inventory of refrigerated containers and expertise in cold-chain operations to ensure consistent product quality. Cold chain logistics solutions help keep Alaska seafood exports frozen. Through its Alaska-Asia Express service, Matson offers direct service from Dutch Harbor, Alaska to Ningbo and Shanghai, China. Once at the Shanghai hub, shipments can transfer to 37 other cities in Asia through Matson’s partner network, including in South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. Sustainable Shipping Carriers increasingly are taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of their voyages to Alaska. For example, TOTE is in the process of converting its eet to dual-fuel liquid natural gas (LNG) technology, which will cut greenhouse gas and sulfur emissions. In 1993, Matson became the rst container vessel operator to adopt a zero solid-waste policy. Its “Greentainer” program collects all non-food solid waste for transfer to recycling, waste to energy, or other environmentally regulated disposal facilities on shore. Other than food waste, no solid waste aboard its vessels is thrown overboard. Matson has also been an industry leader in installing ballast water treatment systems to prevent the spread of invasive species. Matson recycled the last of its
steamships in 2021. It’s committed to a 40% reduction in Scope 1 greenhouse gas emissions from its eet by 2030. It’s also set a goal of net zero total Scope 1 greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Although it was in operation for only part of 2021, Odyssey’s Cloverleaf Sustainability Program reduced carbon emissions for clients by about 490,000 tons. To achieve this, Odyssey invested in a range of technologies, including alternative fuel vehicles, devices enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT), and telematics. The company also created tools that help it work with customers to determine sustainable transportation modes, and partnered with its clients to identify intermodal options. Alaska’s Road Network Of the goods arriving at the Port of Alaska via containership, approximately 25 to 30% is distributed throughout the state via rail and truck service. Alaska has one mile of paved road for every 640 square miles of land. In comparison, Minnesota has 22 square miles of land for every mile of road, while North Carolina has 14 square miles of land. About 20% of Alaska’s roads are paved; in the other 49 states, the average is 91%. Moreover, the road network is mostly in south central Alaska. Anyone traveling any distance in Alaska, including truck drivers, knows they’re vulnerable to
52 Inbound Logistics • April 2022
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