From the Editor

Protecting Alaska’s Supply Chain
Kathryn Mackenzie


hen COVID-19 cases started popping up in Alaska, many residents headed straight to the grocery store to stock up on the basics: rice, beans, flour, anything with bleach or disinfectant, and, of course, toilet paper. And those were just people in the state’s urban areas. Rural residents were left wondering if they’d be able to feed, clothe, and care for their families as the world hunkered down to “flatten the curve.”

The run on stores for supplies is perhaps more understandable in Alaska than other states given that most of what we use and consume must be barged, shipped, driven, or flown here, and in early March not much was clear about the COVID-19 situation, including how the supply chain in Alaska would be affected by a worldwide pandemic. As it turns out, it hasn’t been.

Just as quickly as local retailers were cleaned out of the basics, Alaska’s transportation companies were hustling to get those shelves stocked again. As it became apparent that there was a good amount of panic buying going on, some of the state’s largest shippers reassured Alaskans that the necessities were on the way.

Lynden President Jon Burdick said in a release, “Keeping delivery routes open and supplies moving is our main focus and goal… We have dealt with earthquakes, oil spills, floods, and other obstacles. This situation is no different.”

Matson also did its part to reassure consumers by putting out a statement that the company is taking “all appropriate steps to ensure the continuation of services, including the deployment of reserve vessels if necessary to continue meeting the needs of our customers.”

When the world is as scary as it’s been the past few months, it’s a giant relief to know that even way up here, in the Last Frontier, there are dozens of transportation companies working tirelessly to keep Alaskans safe, fed, clothed, and comfortable.

This month in our annual Transportation Special Section we highlight some of the businesses that are fulfilling Alaska’s needs—one shipment at a time.

Be well,
Black signature of Kathryn Mackenzie
Kathryn Mackenzie
Managing Editor, Alaska Business