Alaska: Rewarding the Resilient and Resourceful

Tags: Ports, Rail, Global Logistics

Logistics providers in Alaska are on top of the world, literally and figuratively. They are a special breed prepared for every challenge the Last Frontier poses.

More to the Story:

Alaska is unique for many reasons, not the least of which are its rugged terrain, logistical challenges—and, yes, logistical advantages too. Its geography makes it one of the roughest places on earth but also, quite literally, it sits at the top of the world. Given that dichotomy, Alaska has been called both a frontier and a global crossroads. For manufacturers seeking to move product from here to there, Alaska's unique location means the logistics providers that serve them must be as rugged and relentless as the landscape itself.

Alaska is one of only two U.S. states (Hawaii is the other) that is not bordered by another state. At the same time, it has more ocean coastline than all of the other states combined.

"Customers in Alaska are from everywhere," says Tom Souply, president of Span Alaska Transportation, which provides freight transportation services to and from the state. "They need a partner who can deal with extreme conditions. They need a partner who can operate in those conditions safely. They need a service provider who can offer predictability and consistency."

In Alaska, it also is vital that logistics providers have the means to deal with all the obstacles that are unique to the Frontier State. "Trucks, ships, barges—all need to operate in extreme conditions," says Curt Dorn, director of sales and marketing for Span Alaska. "Trucks need special cold-weather parts and lubrication to keep the engines running and deliveries on schedule.

"You need a partner that is good in the transition between modes," he adds.

"Providers need to have tracking and monitoring technology," notes Souply. "Span provides excellent tools that help customers keep an eye on their cargo. We provide extreme reliability and shipment visibility with all the necessary tools and experience to provide creative and consistent solutions."

Overcoming Obstacles

Alaska contains only 5,000 miles of paved roads winding through its 663,000 square miles of land. Compare that to Texas, which has 79,000 paved miles in its road system tracking through 269,000 square miles of land.

"Reaching 100% of residents in Alaska takes a creative supply chain of land, water, and air," Souply says. "Knowing the right way to move a shipment takes experience and a team that has been trained to execute these unique challenges."

Span Alaska, a subsidiary of Matson Logistics, ships more than 400 million pounds of freight annually to Alaska. Span Alaska is headquartered in Auburn, Washington, where it operates out of a 93-door terminal on 15 acres. Span Alaska operates all its terminals in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kenai, Kodiak, and Wasilla, and owns more than 700 pieces of rolling equipment.

In addition to its vast volume of shipments from the lower 48 to Southcentral Alaska (the portion of the state consisting of the shorelines and uplands of the central Gulf of Alaska), the company also offers overnight service from Anchorage to Fairbanks and the Kenai Peninsula, and provides LTL service via barge from Seattle to Southeast Alaska.

Through Matson, Span Alaska serves the lower states from the Port of Tacoma to the Port of Anchorage, a total of 1,700 nautical miles. Shipments leave Tacoma twice a week on Wednesday and Friday.

"A core value of our business since our inception in 1978 has been a keen focus on employee and customer relationships," Dorn says. "We direct load to the last-mile delivery terminal." This seamless service, he adds, minimizes handling and transit time and provides quality service, which reduces stock-outs for various supply stores, retailers, construction sites, and medical supplies.

"We make sure our customers have the items their customers want and need on their shelves," he says.

In October 2019, Span Alaska opened its Anchorage Service Center (ASC), "a 540,000-square-foot, 88-dock-door, and 180-trailer and container parking space cargo-moving game-changer," Souply says.

"Anchorage is the main cargo distribution hub for Alaska," he adds. "Eighty-five percent of the state commerce comes through the Port of Alaska, located in Anchorage. This flagship facility strengthens Span's commitment to serving Anchorage and beyond, and its modern design will provide greater efficiency and faster cargo delivery for customers.

"We are grateful to our Span/Matson families for the support and this incredible investment in our future and the future of Alaska," says Souply.

COVID-19 Response

The global health crisis has created additional concerns for shippers, calling on logistics providers to be even more protective. Span Alaska, for example, early on imposed its own travel restrictions for office-based employees.

Span Alaska and other providers are monitoring developments closely and ensuring compliance with all local, state, and federal government reporting and prevention directives for offices and operations. The company has no reported cases of coronavirus associated with its operations. To date, Span Alaska has been able to continue all operations uninterrupted. Drivers are practicing enhanced hygiene techniques while on the road, and have been trained to maintain appropriate physical distance from others during pickups and deliveries.

Providing continuity

Matson, Span Alaska's service provider (and parent company), continues to operate its northbound and southbound vessel schedules without interruption. This includes twice-weekly service between Tacoma and Anchorage. A Communications Response Team has been formed, and the company continues to monitor developments daily.

Span Alaska has Emergency Action and Business Disaster Recovery plans in place for each of its locations. These will go into effect if circumstances warrant. They are designed to keep company offices safe and staff and drivers healthy, and to recover or maintain operations with minimal disruption for customers. IT, telephone, email systems, and most processes are cloud-based, enabling employees to work from remote locations as needed.

Management Is Key

It comes down to sound management. "Alaska is the most expansive and challenging logistics laboratory in the United States," says Dr. Darren Prokop, professor of logistics, College of Business and Public Policy, University of Alaska Anchorage. "I like to say that if you can manage logistics to, from, and within Alaska, you can manage logistics anywhere in the world."

The socioeconomic fabric of Alaska is highly dependent on logistics, Prokop says. To point, he cites these facts:

  • Alaska is the largest state in the United States (more than double the size of Texas).
  • The state is separated from the rest of civilization and surrounded by the vast Pacific and Arctic oceans and the Yukon wilderness.
  • It is one of the least populous states, but its population is widely dispersed across an environment subject to earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, blizzards, and floods.

Additionally, Prokop points out, Alaska's transportation infrastructure is concentrated only in the center of the state between Anchorage and Fairbanks.

"You can't fake logistics," Prokop says. "Either the shipment is on time or it isn't. This is especially crucial for Alaska. With about half of Alaska's population centered in Anchorage and Fairbanks, the Port of Alaska has become the only reliable gateway for large-volume freight deliveries to those cities. About 90% of Alaska's inbound freight arrives by water. The Port of Alaska's share of this serves about 85% of all Alaskans.

"Importantly, of the amount that arrives in Anchorage, only half is for local residents," he adds.

Alaska's abundant natural resources are shipped throughout the world. Alaska's fisheries (e.g., halibut and king crab) are delicacies caught in the world's most treacherous waters. Alaska's oil helps power the nation and is transported from one end of the state to the other by the 800-mile engineering marvel known as the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS).

Apart from its challenges, Alaska possesses highly valuable logistics management assets. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is one of the top air cargo facilities in the world. Its geographic advantage is that it is 9.5 hours flying time to 90% of the industrialized world.

Being at the center of the great circle route between U.S. and Asia markets, most cargo planes stop in Anchorage to refuel. This gas-and-go operation allows the planes to carry more revenue-earning freight and less cost-inducing fuel.

ARCTIC RESOURCES

Alaska makes the United States an Arctic nation, Prokop says. As such, the state is on the frontier of the wealth of resources that are being discovered in the Arctic Ocean. In the decades ahead, he adds, Alaska also will play a major role in the opening of the Arctic to transportation via the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route.

The University of Alaska Anchorage contributes to the state's logistics assets through master's and bachelor's level logistics and supply chain management programs. "We have taught students from all over the United States and nearly every country in Far East Asia and Russia," Prokop says. "Being aware of how fragile Alaska's supply chains can be, we teach students how to plan well and how to use their imagination. It took a lot of imagination and daring to build Alaska into the logistics powerhouse that it is today. Our graduates carry on that legacy in careers that span the globe."

The university is particularly proud of its 100% online Master of Science in Global Supply Chain Management Program. Designed for executives and upper management, its courses provide in-depth analysis of strategic planning, leadership, international business practices, the cutting edge of information technology, and measuring success along highly complex supply chains.

"Our professors and their industry partners have developed a unique set of online tools to give students a wealth of opportunities to wrestle with real-world challenges in order to demonstrate value-add from the C-suite all the way to the shop floor," Prokop says.

Preparation prevails

It is a lesson well known by every adventurer: "Be prepared." That lesson is certainly understood by every logistics provider with the heart and might to move products to and from Alaska, the state of unparalleled adventure.

"If you ship to Alaska, you have to be ready for anything and over-prepared whenever possible," says Grace Greene, president, TOTE Maritime Alaska. TOTE, a leading owner/operator of domestic shipping in the United States, specializes in moving cargo between North America and both Puerto Rico and Alaska.

"TOTE, like Alaska, understands the need to face every challenge head-on and be prepared no matter what," Greene says. "Safety has and always will be at the forefront of every decision and action we make, so we can continue to give our customers and the communities that rely on us the best service on the market."

In 2020,TOTE Maritime Alaska celebrates its 45th anniversary. "Since 1975, TOTE has been committed to making sure we have the safest, most innovative fleet on the market," Greene says. "These investments make sure we can adapt to the needs and challenges of our customers to deliver best-in-class service, no matter what."

A ClAss of their Own

An expression of that commitment was the company's development of "Orca-class" vessels. In 2003, TOTE built two Orca-class cargo ships, the M.V. Midnight Sun and the M.V. North Star. These ships were specially built for Alaska and provide state-of-the-art protection from the elements.

"When we built the Orca-class vessels in the early 2000s, we took painstaking measures to ensure the safety of our crew and our customers' cargo through the challenging waters of the Gulf of Alaska," Greene explains.

"Whether that was our turtleback cover [an arched structure erected over the deck of a ship as protection from heavy seas] on the forward deck of the ship to protect cargo from 50-foot swells, the ice-strengthened hull at the ships' bow, or reinforced propellers and rudders for operation in the ice, these ships really were built for Alaska," she adds.

The company additionally exhibits its commitment to Alaska by converting its fleet to dual-fuel capabilities and to run on liquified natural gas (LNG).

"Converting to LNG makes sense to us because it is out in front, leading the industry," Greene says. "Once converted, our vessels would not only meet current EPA regulations but far exceed them."

TOTE Maritime Alaska offers twice-weekly shipping between the ports of Anchorage and Tacoma at an industry-leading transit time of 66-72 hours.

"We are committed to saving customers time and money with features like our efficient roll-on/roll-off system, which expedites cargo loading and unloading," says Greene. "Real-time tracking technologies enable customers to easily monitor the status of their cargo on phones, tablets, or desktops.

"We believe in a Continuous Improvement mindset and are always improving our vessels, equipment, terminals, and technology to make sure customers can deliver their best to Alaska," she adds.

Cargo includes essential items such as food, household goods, vehicles, construction materials, and the weekly supply for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service military base at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

All (Cargo) Aboard

Among the hearty and resourceful logistics providers powering through the logistics challenges of the Alaska landscape is Alaska Railroad, a connecting carrier with Class I railroads.

Through its rail network, fully loaded railcars begin their journey in the lower 48 states and Mexico to the railroad's port operation in Seattle, Washington. There, railcars of pipe, mining equipment, and chemicals are seamlessly moved, thus avoiding costly transload, to a rail-barge and onward to Alaska. Upon arrival, the railcars are rolled off the barge for continued movement to their final destination within the state.

Alaska Railroad specializes in moving goods such as lumber, heavy machinery, rebar, pipe, and hazardous material. "We can transload commodities to and from ship, railcar, and truck," says Tim Williams, director of freight sales and marketing. "This is a popular option for customers without rail service directly to their facility.

"Our longstanding partnerships with surface transportation companies allow us the ability to provide customers with an all-inclusive transportation service," he adds. "You only need to contact one company and deal with one invoice. It's affordable, efficient, and minimizes handling."

When transloading is not needed, commodities that go on the train stay on the train all the way to and from Seattle, Canada, and other destinations.

"In addition to operating a wonderful passenger service, Alaska Railroad is also the only railroad in Alaska providing rail freight service moving consumer goods and heavy freight from three strategic ports up the rail belt to and from Fairbanks with transload connections to Prudhoe Bay," says Dale Wade, vice president, marketing and customer service. "As Alaska is predominately an inbound logistics market, the railroad helps hold down the cost of living in the state."

In addition to serving as an important asset for Alaskan businesses and residents, the railroad figures significantly into U.S. defense operations. Well before statehood, the U.S. military conducted operations from the numerous bases within Alaska, as it does today.

Alaska Railroad provides service to all these facilities. In addition, Wade says, Alaska Railroad has played a vital role in supporting the readiness of military forces by providing rail support to transport equipment for the U.S. Army between Fort Wainwright and the Port of Alaska during deployments and redeployments in support of contingencies and training exercises.

The railroad's marine shipping schedule includes arrivals and departures from Anchorage and Fairbanks seven days a week. The railroad provides numerous customer tools to help shippers navigate surcharges, tariffs, and regulations governing shipping to and from the state.

For all of the challenges posed by its rugged terrain, you might say that when it comes to logistics in Alaska, the sky is the limit.

Air Power

"Alaska Airlines has made a large investment in the state of Alaska in terms of cargo service," explains Torque Zubeck, managing director, cargo, Alaska Airlines. "We've converted three new 737 freighters from our own feed stock, built a state-of-the-art hangar to support the freighter and passenger fleet in the state, and made many enhancements to our facilities."

Headquartered in SeaTac, Washington, just outside Seattle, Alaska Airlines connects with large international and integrated carriers to carry e-commerce goods and other critical items such as medicine, medical supplies, and perishables into and around the state. It is the fifth-largest airline in the United States when measured by fleet size, scheduled passengers carried, and number of destinations served.

Alaska Airlines, the largest scheduled cargo carrier in the state of Alaska, transports perishable and time-sensitive products year-round. The airline is focused on continual improvement.

"In the past year, we have worked hard to fine-tune our freighter schedule in the state to ensure we're servicing the 19 communities we serve in the most efficient way possible while providing the best connectivity to the continental U.S. markets," Zubeck says. "We are proud of the role we play in being a lifeline to many communities by shipping daily necessities, medical samples, life-saving medication, and more.

"Alaska Airlines has also innovated the customer experience by installing self-service delivery kiosks at our facilities in Anchorage, Juneau, and Bethel to speed delivery times for customers," he adds. "In summer 2020, we also plan to launch freighter service to a new Alaska destination, Unalakleet, which we're excited about."

From his unique vantage point, Zubeck says Alaska's role in logistics—and Alaska Airlines' place in it—will grow even more over the next few years.

HUB OF ACTIVITY

"The Anchorage airport in particular has broad plans to transform into an even more robust airfreight hub, resulting in job creation locally and supporting the greater Alaska economy," he notes. "For Alaska Airlines, this could mean easier and quicker connections from rural Alaska to global markets, which is especially important for the efficient and fast export of wild Alaskan seafood.

"There is potential for e-commerce and other goods coming into the state to be transported around Alaska more quickly as well," Zubeck adds. "This would be beneficial for communities not on the road system, allowing faster delivery of goods around the state."

Shipping services include the "GoldStreak" package express, next-available-flight service for items up to 150 pounds that need to arrive within one day. Shippers pick their flight and drop their package at one of the airline's cargo locations 60 minutes before departure.

Priority airfreight, meanwhile, is ideal for time-sensitive shipments that are larger than GoldStreak service allows, and need to be at a destination by a specific time. Priority goods must be accepted at the cargo facility at least two hours prior to scheduled aircraft departure. Dangerous goods and shipments traveling on the freighter should be tendered at least four hours prior to scheduled aircraft departure.

General airfreight is the lowest-cost alternative for customers that do not have time-sensitive shipments, and can wait for space available service. Target shipment arrival dates are within 48 hours of acceptance. Goods are available for customer pickup within two hours of flight arrival on passenger flights, and within four hours of flight arrival for freighter service.

Road Warriors

The challenges of Alaska's weather, terrain, and remote locations are exacerbated by its transportation infrastructure—or lack thereof. "Relative to Alaska's size, the road system is a tiny fraction of any other state," points out Alex McKallor, executive vice president and COO of Lynden Inc.

Lynden is a family of transportation companies with the combined capabilities of truckload and less-than-truckload transportation, scheduled and chartered barges, intermodal bulk chemical hauls, scheduled and chartered air freighters, domestic and international forwarding and customs services, sanitary bulk commodities hauling, and multimodal logistics.

It is from this broad-based perspective that McKallor sees the logistics strengths of the state through all the obstacles that might obscure the vision of those who, in a real sense, fail to see the forest for the trees.

"Although there have been only minor infrastructure improvements in Alaska in recent years, there have been substantial service improvements as carriers such as Lynden apply new approaches to connecting communities," McKallor says.

Furthermore, he points to the three factors that override all others in the field of logistics: location, location, and location.

"Alaska is strategically located as a key trans-shipment hub for businesses targeting Asian, European, and North American markets," he notes. "The state also has enormous energy, mineral, and seafood resources with an abundance of natural beauty and recreation opportunities.

"Lynden has played a major role in improving logistics in Alaska by pioneering and providing dependable transportation to the state and expanding its service to remote and previously inaccessible points," McKallor says. "From Ketchikan to Kaktovik, we have enhanced and improved logistics in Alaska, and we consider this a major enticement for business development."

Lynden's service center network is the largest in the state. By leveraging its hubs and the company's multimodal capabilities, Lynden is able to connect Alaska's people and businesses seamlessly to each other and to the world.

"A good example of this is our cargo planes that fly scheduled service to Kotzebue, Nome, St. Mary's, and Bethel from our hub in Anchorage," McKallor says. "From Bethel, our hovercraft service supplies the villages on the lower Kuskokwim River. Just over one year ago, our barge service expanded into additional Arctic Alaskan villages like Barrow and Wainwright. We mean it when we say we cover the entire state of Alaska.

"We have earned a reputation for getting it there, no matter where 'there' is," he says. "We like to say we can get freight from anywhere to anywhere."

Ahead of the Curve

As customers' needs change along with technology and innovations, McKallor says, Lynden works hard to not only stay on the right path but to be ahead of the curve.

"We continually ask customers for feedback on our service and products," he says. "We regularly travel to different locations and host customer gatherings to listen and learn. We also conduct surveys and touch base with them by phone. We respond by making changes, if necessary, and developing offerings based on the information we receive."

As an example, Lynden developed a mobile app after customers shared that they would like the convenience of checking on shipments from their mobile devices. Now they can track freight, view shipment information, submit claims, and contact the company quickly and easily through the Lynden app.

"Lynden has a very strong culture of continuous improvement and innovation, which is reflected in our services and service quality," McKallor says. "We have been providing transportation and logistics solutions to customers since 1906, and we pioneered the first scheduled over-the-road truck service to and from Alaska in 1954.

"With the potential of new oil and gas production on the North Slope, we're optimistic for the future of Alaska and we are proud of our reputation as an innovative transportation partner to our customers," he says.

Been There, Done That

Experience, they say, is the best teacher. It is no wonder, then, that the lessons of logistics in Alaska have been learned so well by one of its most experienced logistics providers, Carlile Transportation.

Carlile has been doing business in the state since the company was founded as Carlile Enterprises in 1980 by brothers Harry and John McDonald with their two trucks. In 1985, they made their first haul to Prudhoe on the Dalton Highway

Based in Anchorage, Carlile now has six terminals in Alaska as well as facilities in Tacoma, Washington; Houston, Texas; and Edmonton in Alberta, Canada.

Carlile's logistics experts support exploration, production, and building projects throughout Alaska and across North America with over-the-road, ocean, air, and rail solutions. The company's truck cabs, cargo trailers, fuel tankers, and flatbed trailers travel Alaska's road system to and from Deadhorse (Prudhoe Bay), Fairbanks, Kenai, Kodiak, and Seward from its main terminals in Anchorage and Tacoma. The company is a major LTL provider for many of the state's retailers.

"Carlile was born and raised in Alaska," says Terry Howard, company president. "We've been connecting the world to the Last Frontier for 40 years."

A member of the Saltchuk family of companies, Carlile leverages its relationships with sea, air, and rail partners to provide comprehensive transportation solutions no matter where the cargo originates or where it is destined to be delivered in Alaska. Saltchuk is a diversified family of companies providing transportation and distribution services in North America and the Caribbean.

Howard says that as Alaska manages economic challenges related to oil price volatility—the state's economy is heavily dependent on oil and gas—Carlile continues to meet the changing needs of its clients by providing custom solutions and customer service excellence. The company is focused on innovation and technology to improve efficiency and better connect customers to their cargo and supply chains.

Climate change means Alaska is increasingly being seen as a "gateway to the Arctic," Howard says.

"Deepwater port exploration and a newly commissioned icebreaker means maritime commerce through northern waters is more promising than ever," he adds. "Also, Alaska is becoming more and more critical for strategic defense. All these conditions present unique challenges and opportunities for Alaska's logistics marketplace."

Logistics professionals serving in this ever-changing environment, Howard says, need to be "nimble and alert."

In addition to online access to shipping and tracking data, Carlile is introducing an electronic proof-of-delivery solution during the second quarter of 2020. The app will provide real-time, electronic notifications of freight deliveries to customers, improving the overall efficiency and shipping experience. The new service is part of Carlile's e-commerce and "go green" focus and will replace a paper-heavy process.

Carlile owns its equipment and other assets. It is one of the largest asset-based trucking companies in Alaska and has the largest heavy-haul trailer serving the state. Carlile has 175 tractors and 1,700 pieces of trailering equipment.

"Carlile remains focused on the shipping needs of Alaskans and continues to explore innovative ways to meet customer requirements now and in the future," Howard says. "Carlile has a long history of serving Alaska and we are well-positioned to recognize opportunities."

Nothing Else Like It

"Alaska's sometimes extreme weather and susceptibility to north Pacific storm systems pose challenges we don't see in other trades," says Bal Dreyfus, senior vice president, Alaska, at Matson. "Despite the difficulty, we are able to deliver goods to Alaska with a high degree of reliability because of the deep institutional knowledge of our employees and our collective commitment to providing lifeline services to the Last Frontier."

The importance of Matson's service to Alaska and the resiliency of the state's supply chain have been in the spotlight and a reassurance to Alaskans during the COVID-19 pandemic as 80% of goods that come to Alaska enter the state via the Port of Alaska, where Matson calls twice each week.

After delivering approximately 600 containers per arrival at the Port of Alaska, Matson's network of trucking, rail, and air cargo carriers distributes the goods that restock grocery shelves throughout the state. Matson also delivers supplies directly to Kodiak twice weekly and Dutch Harbor once per week.

The special responsibility Matson feels to serve as a lifeline to Alaska during normal operations and during times of crisis has led the company to develop contingency plans to ensure the continuity of its services, such as having reserve vessels available to deploy.

Matson also acted quickly to implement CDC and U.S. Coast Guard protocols that protect its workers, vendors, and the community, while allowing it to maintain the integrity of its Alaska service uninterrupted.

Headquartered in Honolulu, Matson has been a leader in Pacific shipping since 1882. With multiple subsidiaries, the company's transportation network offers comprehensive ocean transportation services providing a vital lifeline to the economies of Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Micronesia, and islands in the South Pacific.

Experience is Vital

Its Alaska operations are built on the experience of predecessor companies that have served Alaska communities for more than 50 years. "This team knows what Alaska businesses need and how to maintain and use our vessels, terminals, and equipment to provide the highest levels of service," Dreyfus adds.

"We specialize in carrying the wide range of commodities needed to support economies that rely on ocean transportation to continually replenish their inventories and supplies," Dreyfus says. "That has never been more important than right now, and every Matson employee comes to work with a sense of obligation to our community to make sure we maintain the reliable service our customers expect."

Matson offers truck, rail, and barge connections throughout Central Alaska, Kodiak, and the Aleutian Chain, as well as the lower 48, with a full range of equipment—including dry and refrigerated containers, open top containers, car carriers, flat racks, and insulated containers—with efficient terminal operations dedicated to Alaska service.

After acquiring the Alaska assets of Horizon Lines in 2015 in a $469-million transaction, Matson invested tens of millions more in upgrading the infrastructure of its business with ships, terminals, and new equipment.

"This included replacing a crane at our Kodiak terminal and installing emission-cleaning systems on all our Alaska ships to make them compliant with new IMO fuel emission standards in advance of rules that took effect in January 2020," Dreyfus says.

He also cites the purchase of 2,450 new dry and insulated containers for the Alaska trade, new Kenworth tractors at Matson's Anchorage terminal, and facility improvements at its Anchorage, Kodiak, and Dutch Harbor terminals.

"We also upgraded the gate at our Anchorage terminal, installing new technology that has simplified and shortened transaction times for our customers," Dreyfus adds.

Such investments serve as testimony to Matson's strong belief in the growing importance of Alaska's place in the ever-changing logistics marketplace. "Matson invested in its Alaska service at a time when the state's economy was in decline, due to dropping oil prices," Dreyfus says. "We did so because we have confidence there will be stronger years ahead. Alaska is strategically important to our national defense and the energy sector, both of which are likely to continue supporting the state's economy into the future.

"Matson invests for the long term," he adds. "We are committed to providing the frequent, reliable cargo services that Alaska needs, now and in the future."

Whatever the future holds, logistics providers in Alaska know they must adapt to changes even as they accept that the uniqueness of the state—and therefore its unique challenges—will remain.






Visit Our Sponsors