One of Alaska’s largest shipping companies is investing in the state.
Span Alaska Transportation Inc. announced Feb. 15 that it is constructing a new, 54,000-square-foot freight terminal in West Anchorage that will serve as the company’s primary service center.
Span bills itself as the largest freight forwarder and less-than-container-load shipper in the state. The company, which was purchased by integrated shipper Matson Logistics in 2016, handles roughly 180,000 shipments annually totaling more than 400 million pounds, according to President Tom Souply.
“Anything that has a need to get from the Lower 48 up in to Alaska — on the average we’re running 160 to 200 containers per week to the Alaska market,” Souply said of the freight Span handles.
The new facility will allow Span to consolidate its operations and provide greater efficiencies. Span currently works out of two South Anchorage warehouses.
Souply said the new building, off Electron Drive near Chugach Electric Association’s Southcentral Power Project, exemplifies Span’s commitment to the state.
“We’re in it for the long run here, we really are. We’ve been in Alaska since ’78; 40 years we’ve been doing this. We know there’s going go to be highs and lows and we’ve all come together as a community here over the last three years dealing with the recession,” Souply said.
“We’re really bullish on what we’re doing here. Our commitment here is a major commitment to Alaska, to our customers and to our employees.”
Foundation work has begun and vertical construction is expected to start in the coming weeks. All 80 current Span employees will move into the new building once it is complete; and that is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2019, according to Souply.
“As the economy continues to recover we will have the capacity to grow our business which will allow us to add additional employment,” he added.
The company declined to disclose a price on the project, which is being led by Anchorage-based Watterson Construction. Municipal records list the roughly 16-acre parcel as currently being appraised at nearly $6.4 million.
Municipal officials have told the company “it’s the largest non-government-related project for 2019” in Anchorage, according to Souply.
In addition to bringing all of its work under one roof, which will help avoid duplication, he said the new facility will have an 8,100-square-foot covered area to protect flatbed freight loads, a larger loading dock and improved security.
“We’re going to have everything we need to be as efficient and effective as possible, including creating a four-bay vehicle maintenance shop that will allow us to be very nimble when it comes to maintenance and repairs. We’ll be able to do that on-site; that’s a big piece for us,” he said.
Elwood Brehmer can be reached at email@example.com.