Anchorage, AK

New logistics center to benefit Alaska air cargo transfer program

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) is located roughly halfway between Tokyo and New York City. These coordinates translate into a booming cargo business. Anchorage is the fifth-largest in volume cargo airport in the world, after Dubai. About 80 percent of all air cargo traffic between Asia and North America passes through ANC.

This Alaskan airport also boasts an operations advantage that many carriers don’t know about. That would be its unique cargo transfer program, which allows foreign airlines to offload cargo onto another foreign carrier for delivery to another city in the U.S.

The practice is illegal in other states. The Jones Act, passed in 1920, prohibits foreign airlines (and ships) from transporting cargo from one United States city to another.

Congress granted an exception to Alaska and Hawaii in 1996. The idea was to give these “outlier” states an edge over competitors in the lower 48. (The program doesn’t make as much sense in Hawaii, he said, as the Central Pacific island doesn’t enjoy Anchorage’s strategic location.)

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, largely because many Asian carriers can’t to believe it is legal.

According to, new projects, and better marketing, are expected to raise awareness of Alaska’s special status.

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