Supply chain initiative continues to push for new air-to-sea cargo route through Alaska

Those involved in the Anchorage Pacific Air-to-Sea Service have begun working towards inking their first deal.
Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 8:08 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage Pacific Air-to-Sea Service was announced during a news conference at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in November, and those involved have begun working towards inking their first deal.

The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, Anchorage airport, Matson and Saltchuk are all pushing for the initiative that would bring more cargo through Anchorage.

“Since the fourth-quarter announcement we’ve had a lot of really interesting conversations ... and I would say significant interest,” said Saltchuk Alaska Senior Vice President David Karp. “But these things take time.”

Karp said the group is looking for cargo owners and logisticians to join ANC PASS, and then they can begin putting the plan into action.

“One of the biggest challenges is, we’re breaking the model, right? This is kind of an unorthodox way of doing things,” Karp said. “... Part of the bet in this whole thing is that we can actually provide a reliable anywhere from 10, to 20, to even 30-day service to anywhere in the United States, and be able to deliver on time.”

The ANC PASS looks to ease the supply chain snarl that hampered the Lower 48 over the holidays and offer an alternative to the traditional transpacific shipping model, where goods are taken by boat directly from Asia to North America.

The model being proposed by ANC PASS would send a cargo plane from Asia to the Anchorage airport, and load it onto ships at the Port of Alaska headed southbound to Tacoma and Seattle ports.

Every week four empty container ships leave the Port of Alaska to Tacoma and Seattle returning empty boxes to national distribution centers for national retailers that do business in Anchorage, according to Karp.

“We’re absolutely convinced that this underutilized capacity is a perishable asset that can do a lot, at least in a meaningful way for Alaska and Alaskans, in terms of relieving some of the bottleneck and congestion that we;re seeing bringing cargo into the United States,” Karp said.

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