Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Alaska Shipping Companies Merge

Tacoma-based freight transportation services company Pacific Alaska Freightways has acquired Southern Alaska Forwarding, effective Jan. 2, 2012.

“This is a great acquisition for us,” Pacific Alaska Freightways CEO Ed Fitzgerald said. “We know the SAF business model and we expect a seamless transition.”

The two companies have an intertwined history that dates back decades. Pacific Alaska Freightways was founded in Seattle, Washington in 1961 as Pacific Alaska Forwarders. Southern Alaska Forwarding was started in 1979 by the two eldest sons of the couple that founded PAF.

In 1993, one of the sons, Alain Smith, left the company he co-founded to work for Kodiak-based Pacific Alaska, which provides various freight transportation services, including steamship, barge, rail, air, intermodal, less-than-truckload and truckload.

But despite being two separate entities, the companies had partnered on picking up freight from Anchorage and transferring it to SAF for delivery in Kodiak, as well as providing support for each other into their respective service areas.

Smith said the merger should be complete during the spring. Despite the merger, the companies say the entire Southern Alaska Forwarding team, which is based in Kodiak, is expected to remain in place under the Pacific Alaska name.