The Port of Anchorage is really the Port of Alaska. The Port serves over 85% of Alaska with everything you eat, wear or drive. Around 90% of the merchandise goods for all the state, except Southeast, come through this Port including essential fuel supplies like gasoline, diesel, heating oil, aviation gasoline and jet fuel for Elmendorf Air Force Base and Ted Stevens International Airport. To learn more about fuel distribution click here.
Merchandise goods like food, clothing, snow mobiles, vehicles and business supplies are shipped to Alaska on container ships owned by Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE) and Horizon Lines Inc. These companies send two container ships from the Port of Tacoma to the Port of Anchorage every Sunday and every Tuesday.
(Hint: if you want the best selection at the grocery store visit on a Monday or a Wednesday!)
Once these goods arrive in Anchorage they are offloaded and shipped throughout Alaska in a variety of different ways. Containers bound for Anchorage locations are delivered by truck while containers and goods bound for Fairbanks are shipped up north through a combination of road and rail. The first stop for 90% of the merchandise goods in Fairbanks is the Port of Anchorage.
For freight headed to rural Alaska there are several different transportation routes depending on the final destination. Every year, around 100 million pounds of goods ever the Port of Anchorage before being transported to consolidation centers in Anchorage or Fairbanks where they are entered into the bypass mail system and flown out to rural communities. An estimated 70% of bypass mail shipments originate in Anchorage with the remaining 30% originating in Fairbanks.
To read more about Alaska's cargo distribution system click here.
Through this hub and spoke transportation system, the Port of Anchorage serves over 250 communities.
For a complete listing click here.
The efficiency of this system has diminished the need for warehousing but in turn has created a "just-in-time" supply chain. If there was a serious disruption in any part of this transportation chain, most businesses could survive for only a week to ten days before experiencing a serious breakdown in service. The Port is the center of this transportation chain and it is critical that it remain fully function because its services are irreplaceable. According to a recent study by the Alaska Regional Ports team, "there is no other Port in Southcentral Alaska that can replicate the Port of Anchorage services."
The Port's current facilities are over 50 years old in some areas and in a deteriorated condition that would not normally survive a high magnitude earthquake. Click here to learn more.
In order to replace these facilities without disrupting service the Port has undertaken an ambitious expansion project. Click here to learn more.