Anchorage retailers say no shortages for a while

Posted: Tuesday, October 01, 2002

ANCHORAGE - A labor dispute continued to idle West Coast seaports and hold up shipments of goods to Southcentral Alaska, but major Anchorage retailers said consumers won't notice shortages unless the dispute stretches out far longer.

Safeway, operator of Carrs grocery stores, already went to contingency plans to truck goods from the Seattle area.

"It's not as cost-effective as a container ship, but we can move a lot," said Glenn Peterson of Safeway.

In the meantime, Safeway has a well-stocked grocery warehouse in South Anchorage, Peterson said. And stores, so far, have not seen signs of hoarding by consumers, he said.

Barge shipments to Juneau are not expected to be hit by the shutdown.

Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles continued to work for an exemption to allow Alaska-bound freight to be loaded.

The Westward Venture, a cargo ship operated by Totem Ocean Trailer Express, managed to get loaded and leave Tacoma on Sunday night, despite the dockworker slowdown.

That should give the city a little more time before product shortages could appear, said John Parrott, TOTE's Alaska general manager.

TOTE and CSX ships carry milk, fresh produce, clothing, building materials and cars.

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