The Port of Anchorage serves most of Alaska from Homer to the North Slope via rail, road, and air. The US Department of Defense designated it one of 16 National Strategic Ports, underscoring its proximity to Russia and Asia. It provides all of the jet fuel to Elmendorf Air Force Base and most of the jet fuel to Ted Stevens International Airport. It stages all of the refined petroleum product exports from the Fairbanks refinery.
The Port of Anchorage is responsible, directly or indirectly, for most of the jobs in the area. Stevedores, railroaders, truckers, oil workers, warehousemen, and many workers in the finance and real estate sectors owe their employment to the Port of Anchorage. Today, export-related jobs are growing for petroleum, forest, mining, and manufacturing products.
Operating since 1961, the Port of Anchorage was the only port in south central Alaska to survive the 1964 earthquake. Since then, it has expanded to a five-berth terminal with facilities for containerized cargo, iron and steel products, cement, and bulk petroleum. In 2005, more than 5 million tons of cargo moved across its docks.
To the east of the Port, an almost 129-acre Industrial Park contains 31 acres for storage/staging of cargo. In an effort to modernize and maintain market dominance, the Port of Anchorage began an initiative in 2003 to eventually double its size.
In 2006, road and rail extensions were completed to improve cargo flow and introduce intermodal capacity. A North Terminal was begun in 2006 to accommodate larger barge shipments and improve barge-container ship coordination. From 2008 to 2014, dock expansions will accommodate 1000-foot ships and provide berths with deeper drafts as well as improve handling of container ships, bulk materials and petroleum, and passenger ships.
In 2007, the Port of Anchorage handled over 500 thousand TEUs of containerized cargo (almost 2 million tons of containerized and flat cargoes) and almost 1.7 million tons of shore side petroleum (5 million barrels-bulk).