Don Young Port of Alaska in Anchorage
Don Young Port of Alaska in Anchorage

What would happen if we didn’t fix the Port of Alaska?

Published: February 5, 2019

Author: Anchorage Daily News editorial board

It’s a hypothetical scenario, but one made somewhat less so by ongoing woes and ballooning cost estimates to fix the shipping terminal that supplies the majority of food, fuel and durable goods to the state: What would happen if the Port of Alaska simply failed?

It’s not a pretty picture. “Depending where you are in the state, you will run out of food in six to 10 days,” said Jim Jager, the port’s external affairs director. “For fuel, we’re a little better off ... but we ordinarily don’t have more than a week’s worth of food in-state."

In this imagined disaster, Alaskans wouldn’t likely starve, of course. In the absence of Anchorage’s port, food and fuel shipments would be diverted as best as possible to alternate ports, such as Seward or Valdez. But none have similar capacity or connectivity to high-volume transport avenues, and upgrading them would, like upgrading the Port of Alaska, be costly and time-consuming. It would take more time and fuel to get goods to Alaskans, and that would mean higher prices.

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