FAIRBANKS - The bankruptcy filing and shutdown of Consolidated Freightways this week means the loss of 23 jobs in Alaska and a scramble among remaining freight companies for the customers left behind.
Eighteen jobs will be lost in Anchorage and 5 in Fairbanks, company officials said.
In Fairbanks, terminal manager David Lean was the only employee in the office Tuesday. He will work a couple more weeks coordinating the transport of shipments still en route.
"The staff is very skilled and they will find jobs, but it will take awhile," Lean said. He noted that all the company's drivers were Teamsters and the former Consolidated employees may have trouble finding jobs that pay as well as union wages.
"The company was unable to make a profit in one and a half years, that was public knowledge," he said of the shipper's financial situation.
Kathy Lorec, vice president of Span-Alaska Consolidators Inc., described Consolidated as an "icon" among shippers but was not surprised by its closing.
"It has been on the horizon for quite a while," Lorec said of the company's impending bankruptcy. "They lost over $100 million last year."
Aside from the job losses, Lorec is confident other freight companies will be able to step in and meet the shipping demands of local businesses.
"In Alaska there are quite a few competitors to Consolidated Freightways," Lorec said. "We can handle an increase in business, and we see this as an opportunity to grow."
Lorec said Consolidated's former customers were probably meeting with other shippers on Tuesday and trying to find out where their freight is and how it will be delivered.
Lean, at the defunct carriers' Fairbanks terminal, spent time with customers on Tuesday.
"The whole goal is to make sure customers get what they need so they are not inconvenienced more than circumstances demand," Lean said.