New logistics centre to benefit Alaska air cargo transfer programme
TED Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) is located roughly halfway between Tokyo and New York City, and those coordinates translate into a booming cargo business
TED Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) is located roughly halfway between Tokyo and New York City, and those coordinates translate into a booming cargo business.
Anchorage is the fifth largest in volume cargo airport in the world, after Dubai. About 80 per cent of all air cargo traffic between Asia and North America passes through ANC, where carriers stop en route to fuel up.
The airport is currently seeking a public-private partnership to provide a storage facility for transit cargo at the Alaskan hub.
The Quick Cargo Centre (QCC) will be a secure, climate controlled facility next to the main cargo ramp, providing airfreight carriers the perfect opportunity to perform hub-and-spoke operations at the US gateway, according to airport manager Jim Szczesniak.
A professor of logistics at the University of Alaska, Darren Prokop, said planes that layover in Alaska can reduce the amount of fuel they have to stow, enabling airlines to 'carry more revenue freight than cost-inducing fuel.'
Alaska has built its reputation on location and the airport also boasts an operations advantage that many carriers don't know about. That would be its unique cargo transfer programme, which allows foreign airlines to offload cargo onto another foreign carrier for delivery to another city in the US.
In other states, the practice is strictly illegal. The Jones Act, passed in 1920, prohibits foreign airlines (and ships) from transporting cargo from one US city to another.
With e-commerce and international trade booming, ANC boosters hope more cargo airlines will begin to take advantage of the air transfer opportunity. Only a handful use it now, said Mr Prokop, largely because many Asian carriers find it hard to believe it's legal.
When it comes to the air cargo transfer programme, the handling centre could be the real game changer, reports New York's FreightWaves.
Under the existing system, two carriers wanting to drop-off or pick-up cargo have to land in Anchorage around the same time, Mr Prokop explained. 'But they may not be dispatched that way or coordinated.'
With the new warehouse, a carrier bound from South Korea to Los Angeles, for example, will be able to drop and store pallets headed for New York in Anchorage. Another carrier can pick them up later and head for the East Coast.
'It is very similar to less-than-truckload (LTL) trucking,' Mr Prokop said. 'It will change the importance of the Anchorage airport. It not only becomes a 'gas-and-go' facility but a true hub- and-spoke network.'
The centre will be located on a parcel of land next to the new parking positions, adding another level of convenience, Mr Szczesniak said. A request for project proposals will be released in late spring, he said.