Port of Alaska in Anchorage
Port of Alaska in Anchorage

By Jeremy Hsieh
Alaska Public Media

“The Don Young Port of Anchorage.”

That’s what a panel recommends renaming the city-owned Port of Alaska. There are two changes there: An honorary thing for the man who represented Alaska for 49 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, and a reversion to the place name historically attached to the port – Anchorage, not Alaska.

The proposed legislation credits Young with helping to steer hundreds of millions of dollars to port projects.

The panelists said in a letter that switching the name back to “of Anchorage” better reflects industry practice.

The “of Alaska” moniker is only five years old. The Anchorage Assembly changed the name in 2017 in a symbolic move, in part to convey to legislators who fund infrastructure projects the port’s importance to the entire state. Most freight, fuel and consumer goods that come to Alaska flow through the port.

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By Zachariah Hughes
Anchorage Daily News

Members of the Anchorage Assembly, with the backing ofMayor Dave Bronson’s administration, passed two important measures this week related to the modernization project at the Port of Alaska.

The first ordinance affects the design of the port’s two cargo terminals, which are on track to be built out for maximum utilization in the coming decades. The second vote increased tariffs charged for products coming into the port, with the extra money intended to go specifically toward the modernization project and ensure greater financing options, as officials continue pulling together funds for the infrastructure overhaul from a range of sources.

Taken together, the measures are two big steps forward for longstanding efforts to overhaul the eroded and outdated port, through whichflow enormous volumes of the fuel, food and supplies that Alaskans depend on.

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By Steve Kirch

The Anchorage Assembly is working on yet another packed agenda, including multiple ordinances related to the Port of Alaska.

Containers ships, marine vessels, and cruise ships all call the Port of Alaska home, but the two cargo terminals there are starting to show their age, and Tuesday night, the Assembly took a step toward addressing that by voting to improve tariff revisions and design concepts for the port.

A draft ordinance showed the design concept for the two cargo terminals that receive shipments from commercial cargo vessels will be created for a 75-year life span. The changes will also take into consideration the needs of current vessels that use the Port of Alaska, along with larger vessels that may use it in the future.

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By Jeremy Hsieh
Alaska Public Media

Anchorage officials took two big steps forward Tuesday toward rebuilding the aging and vulnerable cargo lifeline almost the entire state relies on. 

Most of the state’s incoming freight, fuel and consumer goods flow through the city-owned Port of Alaska, built in 1961. Corrosion and age are wearing down the sections used for cargo, which don’t meet modern shipping standards. 

Tuesday, the Anchorage Assembly voted 11-0 to approve key design decisions about what two rebuilt cargo terminals will look like, and new user fees that they intend to leverage for big state and federal grants to pay for it. The port facilities are being designed to last 75 years and to stand up to earthquakes. The Assembly’s action puts this phase of the massive port project on a path for construction to begin in 2025. 

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By Zachariah Hughes
Anchorage Daily News

The Anchorage Assembly is set to vote this week on tariff revisions and construction designs for the Port of Alaska.

The port, a critical piece of infrastructure in the northwest corner of Anchorage, handles a huge share of goods and critical materials that Alaskans all over the state depend on, from groceries and construction material to cement and aviation fuel. The dock terminals are aged and badly eroded, and municipal officials have struggled for years to redevelop them amid warnings that one well-placed earthquake or environmental disaster could easily bring it down.

But in recent years, there has been steady progress financing repairs and moving forward on staged improvements, including the completion of a cement and petroleum terminal that came online earlier this year.

This week, amid an Assembly agenda so packed it is scheduled to span two days, municipal officials will vote on the design for the upgraded port, a multiyear project called the Port of Alaska Modernization Project.

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By Joe Cadotte

It’s the front door to the state from the sea, a vital part of the lives of nearly everyone in Alaska. But there’s a problem. The port — where Mayor Dave Bronson said 90% of Alaskans get their food and supplies from — is aging.

If major revitalization isn’t done to the Port of Alaska, major portions of the dock will be taken out of service in as soon as seven years, Port Director Steve Ribuffo said.

“If something catastrophic happens to the entire port because we chose not to invest in replacing it, then we’re in a world of hurt,” Ribuffo said.

Friday, Ribuffo, private companies and Anchorage Assembly members had a work session talking about the second phase of an overall project that will eventually replace everything at the port, which originally opened in 1961.

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By Lauren Maxwell

Holland America’s ship Nieuw Amsterdam cruised into the Port of Alaska under sunny skies and calm seas on Thursday. The ship is one of two that will visit Anchorage this season, with a different Holland America ship arriving in September.

Kimberly Wells, Cruise and Travel Director for Holland America, said the Nieuw Amsterdam can hold 2,300 passengers but 1,900 had signed up for the 14-day cruise. Wells said the company typically does 7-day cruises to Alaska, which are more popular among families than longer ones.

Passengers were provided shuttle busses to move into town from the port. With roughly 9 hours before they had to be back onboard, many said they planned to spend the day seeing the sights in downtown Anchorage. Others had booked excursions with local tour companies to go flightseeing or rent bikes to ride the Coastal Trail.

Carl Johnson, owner of Alaska Photo Treks, took twenty clients to various sites in Anchorage to take unique photographs. He said the cruise ship marks the official start of the summer season — which is important for many businesses.

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Anchorage Daily News
By Loren Holmes, Bill Roth

The Port of Alaska saw the first ship to dock at the new Petroleum and Cement Terminal on Tuesday, as well as container ships from Tote and Matson, and a Crowley fuel barge and its tug boat.

The new pile-supported dock replaced the former Petroleum Oil Lubricates Terminal 1 that opened in 1965, which was severely corroded and suffered structural damage during the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that occurred Nov. 30, 2018. The PCT pilings and concrete deck are designed to last for 75 years, and are part of the first phase of the Port of Alaska Modernization Program.

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Building to satisfy current and future public needs and market demands

Seaports Magazine
By Steve Ribuffo, Director of the Port of Alaska

First Quarter 2023

If things go well, I’ll spend the next ten years fielding complaints from Port
of Alaska neighbors about construction noise, because our aging facilities need a lot of renovation and replacement.

Depending upon your point of view, Port of Alaska in Anchorage is either a small port, a big port — or a big, small port. It only handles about 5 million tons of fuel and freight annually. But this Municipality of Anchorage-owned and -operated port is Alaska’s primary inbound cargo facility that supports local, statewide, national, and international economic interests. It is one of 18 Department of Defense designated commercial strategic seaports that support U.S. military missions around the world. Its operations are essential for timely disaster response and recovery throughout Southcentral Alaska and across the state. And it handles three-quarters of the fuel used at Ted Stevens
Anchorage International Airport, the world’s fourth busiest air cargo hub.

Port of Alaska markets and cargo logistics are tricky because its service area is huge — the whole state of Alaska — with a small population (only 733,000 residents) and extreme climate, geography, and seismic conditions. The state is a virtual island: with one, mostly two-lane road through Canada to the Lower 48, and no cross-border rail, pipeline, or electric transmission connections. More than 90% of Alaska inbound freight is delivered by ship or barge. Port of Alaska handles half of all Alaska inbound fuel and freight shipped into the state annually, including three-quarters of non-petroleum cargo (think food and consumer goods) transported into Alaska and consumed statewide. Alaska’s small population cannot economically support more than one major inbound cargo port, so Port of Alaska must maintain the flexibility to meet the state’s diverse cargo needs, from containers to break bulk, dry bulk, liquid bulk, RO/RO, LO/LO, military transport, barge service, and cruise ships.

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AAPA Seaports Magazine (AAPQ) - First Quarter 2023 - Small Port, Big Challenges, Extreme Flexibility (seaportsmag-digital.com)

For Immediate Release: February 2, 2023
Contact: IAMPE 207.741.7000

The Advisory Board of the International Association of Maritime and Port Executives (IAMPE) named Steve Ribuffo, Director of the Port of Alaska, the new Chairman of the IAMPE Advisory board at its most recent annual meeting. Capt. Kevin Kiefer, Chief for the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Waterways and Ocean Policy at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC, was named as the Advisory Board’s Vice Chairman at the same meeting.

Steve Ribuffo, AMPE, is the Port Director of the Port of Alaska. In this capacity he is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day business operations of the Port; interacting with tenants, the U.S. Coast Guard and other branches of the military, and new business prospects for the Port. He has been with the Port since August 2007, when he came aboard as Deputy Port Director. He has been the Port Director since June 2015. Steve retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel, having served 30 years on active duty. A native New Yorker, he graduated from Manhattan College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing. He also has an MBA from Golden Gate University and a Master of Science degree in Logistics Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Steve is a member of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation Investors Council. He is the Alaska Representative on the Association of Pacific Ports Executive Committee. Steve is a certified instructor for the IAMPE. He also serves on the University of Alaska – Anchorage’s Global Supply Chain Management curriculum advisory committee and is a UAA adjunct professor for Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

Capt. Kevin Kiefer, AMPE, assumed the position of Advisory Board Vice Chairman at the most recent IAMPE Advisory Board annual meeting. Captain Kiefer is responsible for Ocean and Transportation Policy, Waterways Management, Great Lakes Pilotage, Domestic and Polar Icebreaking, and International Ice Patrol. He develops national policy for Captain of the Port (COTP) authorities, Marine Transportation System (MTS) goals, and other issues such as harmonizing waterways usage with autonomous vessels, marine events, and waterborne space launch and reentry operations. He also supervises the administration of the Great Lakes Pilotage program and serves as the Designated Federal Officer for the Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee. Additionally, he is also the Coast Guard representative/liaison to the U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System, Marine Board, Transportation Research Board, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Previously, Captain Kiefer was the Director of Manufacturing for the Maritime Applied Physics Corporation (MAPC) in Baltimore, Maryland, a research, engineering, and manufacturing company that conceives and builds land, air, and sea vehicles and advanced technology systems. Prior to his time with MAPC, he served 30 years with the Coast Guard which included assignments as Deputy Director of Marine Transportation Systems at Coast Guard Headquarters; Chief of Staff, First District in Boston, Massachusetts; and Captain of the Port, Sector Maryland-National Capital Region in Baltimore, Maryland. He holds a Master of Engineering in Manufacturing and a Master of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Science from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

The IAMPE is a non-profit industry association that provides professional development for coastal and inland port and terminal managers and executives. Programs are reviewed and approved for certification by the IAMPE’s Board of Advisors, comprised of 20 industry professionals. The Association offers professional and accredited programs in Coastal and Inland Port Management and Executive Management, as well as certification programs for Marine Terminal Operator and IMDG/Hazardous Awareness. The Association has over 2,600 alumni worldwide and is the only Association offering professional certification to port managers across the globe.