Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Untapped Potential: Trade With Alaska and Hawaii


April 1, 2019

Alaska Marine Lines' ports of call in Western Alaska include Naknek, Dillingham, Nome, Bethel and Kotzebue and more than 65 villages up and down the coast. Photo courtesy of Alaska Marine Lines.

Investments abound in Alaska and Hawaii, where maritime companies are broadening their reach and capitalizing on the two states' untapped potential.

Firms are flocking to the Frontier State, whether they are working on various oil, gas and mining projects, or assisting the commercial fishing industry and remote villages in the delivery or reception of goods.

More than 3,000 miles away, the Aloha State is seeing money spent in modernization projects and new equipment in hopes of a brighter, more lucrative future for Hawaii's maritime business.

Here's a look at what kinds of investments are being made in the nation's two youngest states:


Alaska Marine Lines – part of the Lynden family of companies – recently announced that it would be expanding its Alaska barge services to the North Slope villages of Point Hope, Point Lay, Wainwright, Utqiagvik (Barrow), and Kaktovik, as well

as Deadhorse.

The main barge service from Seattle and Anchorage to the North Slope villages will be once a year, with the next one taking place in July.

The new stops will be included to Alaska Marine Lines' ports of call in Western Alaska, linking major hubs Naknek, Dillingham, Nome, Bethel and Kotzebue and more than 65 villages up and down the coast.

The company also offers regular barge service to various Southeast and Central Alaska locations, as well as Hawaii.

"Adding these new locations allows us to meet our goal of serving the entire state of Alaska, from Ketchikan to Kaktovik," said Alaska Marine Lines President Kevin Anderson. "From April to October each year we bring essential supplies to local villages in Western Alaska and provide critical support to the seafood industry."

Because it can facilitate options to move cargo by land, sea and air, Alaska Marine Lines is also able to support Alaska's domestic and international seafood industry from Point A to

Point B.

Its Hercules aircraft fly freshly caught seafood from King Salmon, Dillingham and Western Alaska to Anchorage, while products can be moved quickly by truck to Anchorage from Homer, Kenai, Seward and Cordova. By sea, seafood from Southeast Alaska can travel by barge to Seattle.

Fish from Central Alaska to Seattle can also be ferried by ship, then quickly by highway.

These options allow the Lynden family of companies to accommodate the needs of fishermen, processors, restaurants and other customers.

"The waters of Alaska provide a broad variety of seafood, and we are proud to ship seasonal fresh and frozen fish including salmon, halibut, cod, whitefish, crab and shellfish," Anderson said.

The full-service marine transportation company doesn't solely move seafood. They handle all types of cargo, from groceries, cars and other necessities to oversized machinery and other bulky materials for diverse projects in the mining, oil and construction industries.

The company's fleet of equipment includes dry and refrigerated containers, tugs and barges of all sizes and specialized pieces to handle the most complex cargo moves.

Meanwhile, marine transportation company and Foss Maritime subsidiary Cook Inlet Tug & Barge announced in January that it has an agreement with Crowley Vessel Sales Group to purchase all of Crowley's Prudhoe Bay, Alaska assets – including tugs, barges, heavy machinery and other vehicles and equipment.

The marine assets and vessels – which will be renamed to be consistent with the rest of the Cook Inlet Tug & Barge fleet – have operated solely on the North Slope, ready to perform shallow draft tug and barge services.

"The shallow draft design of the vessels makes them ideal to service the North Slope and Western Alaska Markets," said CITB Sr. Business Development Director Mike O'Shea. "In addition, the vessels are all in excellent condition."

The purchase is part of the independently managed subsidiary's larger plan to streamline its operation by focusing on marine equipment and partnering with established shore side service providers in Prudhoe Bay. It also gives Foss and Cook Inlet the ability to expand their Alaska operations.

"CITB is excited about the addition of this fleet. We look forward to working with companies on the North Slope, and providing leaner options to the oil and gas industry," said John Parrott, President and CEO of Foss.

Foss has deep experience in the arctic, supporting mining operations at the Red Dog Mine and being part of major oil and gas projects in the region for more than 30 years, as well as projects in the Canadian arctic, said Loren Skaggs, manager of Marketing and Communications at Foss.

The company is using the winter months to identify and engage with potential customers for work this summer.

These assets – which include a variety of heavy equipment for shoreside support such as a 350-ton crane, forklifts, and a loader – will help the company perform a variety of work in Alaska and Canada, Skaggs said.

"We see this as an area of opportunity," Skaggs said. "We're open for business in Alaska and we're really excited about some of the opportunities it presents."

Skaggs added: "Our investment in Alaska is significant and will continue to be so."


Meanwhile, work is underway on a long-awaited multi-million dollar Harbor modernization plan in Hawaii that is expected to bolster maritime operations throughout the Aloha state, generate more than $140 million into the local economy and create various construction, specialized trades, transportation and maritime industry job opportunities.

The centerpiece of the modernization is the $448 million Kapalama Container Terminal, a new deepwater terminal at the former Kapalama Military Reservation in Honolulu with an 84-acre cargo yard and 1,800 linear feet of new berthing space.

The new terminal, which is expected to be completed by 2022, will remove about 50,000 annual truckloads away from the roadways by having that cargo move between facilities, alleviating congestion issues in Honolulu Harbor and making cargo handling more efficient.

The modernization plan also includes upgrades to Honolulu Harbor, which help Matson Inc.'s Sand Island Terminal much-needed expansion into Piers 51A and 51B.

Sand Island – Matson's hub for cargo moving within the neighbor islands via Matson's inter-island barge system – was too small for Matson, which had been running out of four different locations around the Harbor.

The expansion means 30 percent more waterfront space to accommodate Matson's roll-on, roll-off operations currently at Pier 32, according to the company's website.

Newly-acquired Cook Inlet Tug & Barge assets include a variety of heavy equipment for shoreside support such as a 350-ton crane, forklifts, and a loader. Photo courtesy of Foss.

To prepare for the expansion, Matson agreed to purchase three new 65 long-ton capacity cranes built by Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding and retrofit three existing cranes at Sand Island.

The new gantry cranes, set for delivery in early 2019, will come with fiber-optic cabling that will transmit information from the company's container tracking system more quickly and efficiently. The new cranes will also allow the full service of Matson's larger Aloha Class and Kanaloa Class vessels coming online.

Matson has invested almost $1 billion toward terminal upgrades and four new vessels, including the Daniel K. Inouye, christened last September, according to the company.

The terminal expansion and gate, container yard, electrical system, cargo identification technology and other equipment upgrades are anticipated to be done next year, according to Matson.


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