Inside Logistics

Anchorage airport getting climate-controlled warehouse

Construction to begin later in 2021 on 700,000-square-foot facility


January 25, 2021
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Anchorage International Airport is within 9.5 hours of key markets in Europe, Asia and North America.

Alaska Cargo and Cold Storage, LLC (ACCS) and the State of Alaska have signed a 55-year lease agreement at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) that furthers the development of a more than 700,000-square-foot, climate-controlled warehouse facility there. With 32.5 million cubic feet of capacity, the facility will provide ANC with a critical piece of infrastructure at the world’s sixth-busiest cargo airport.

Located on the Great Circle Route, ANC is within 9.5 hours of 90 percent of key markets in Asia, Europe and North America. Illustrating this importance, during COVID-19 air travel disruptions, ANC was the busiest airport in the world on select days in 2020. Historically, however, a limited supply of warehouse and transfer facilities at ANC meant the airport was simply used a place for cargo planes to refuel.

Infrastructure grant

In September 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA), a US$21 million BUILD grant to administer in support of the ACCS project. The facility will be constructed in phases. The first phase will be roughly 190,000 square feet with plans to begin construction in the second half of 2021. When fully completed, the facility will offer cold and warm storage, quick cargo, and general warehousing options, logistics services, and auxiliary space for tenant offices.

ACCS is a joint venture of Chad Brownstein and McKinley Capital Management, LLC, which is led by Rob Gillam. Brownstein is the founder of Rocky Mountain Resources which has aggregated an industrial complex throughout the Mountain West. Gillam is the chief executive officer and chief investment officer at McKinley Capital.

Brownstein and Gillam say the development of ACCS — located runway-adjacent and within a Foreign Trade Zone — will position ANC to be transformed into a key cold chain transfer hub for global air cargo carriers.

Seafood industry

“Many industries require cold storage, Gillam said.

“One example is seafood, one of Alaska’s biggest exports, and it’s shipped globally. For decades, almost no value-added or fresh production occurred in-state. Now, Alaska can capitalize on its valuable position as a hub between North America and Asia. We see this project as something with potential to increase air cargo traffic and spur local economic development.”

“The addition of this facility with cold storage capabilities brings new opportunity for the global distribution tenants and customers already benefitting from the unique features of the Anchorage trade and tariff exemptions,” said Brownstein. “The facility will serve as the cold storage gateway between the Americas, Asia, and Europe, and further integrate Alaska into the global cold chain.”

ANC offers daily, nonstop freighter service to more than 30 destinations and near daily service to an additional 20. The facility will allow perishables to be consolidated from North America and Latin America and then distributed to freighters bringing perishables closer to the consumer, said airport director Jim Szczesniak.