Alaska Seaplanes co-owner and president Kent Craford smiles at the Golden Shovel ceremony on Wednesday that saw the groundbreaking on Alaska Seaplanes’ new cargo facility adjacent to the north terminal at the Juneau International Airport. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Alaska Seaplanes co-owner and president Kent Craford smiles at the Golden Shovel ceremony on Wednesday that saw the groundbreaking on Alaska Seaplanes’ new cargo facility adjacent to the north terminal at the Juneau International Airport. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Cargo-ing the distance: Seaplanes breaks ground on new building

New facility could be up and running by this summer.

Alaska Seaplanes broke ground on a new cargo facility at the Juneau International Airport on Wednesday, and according to Alaska Seaplanes co-owner and president Kent Craford, the project likely broke records, as well.

“To my knowledge this is probably the largest private investment on the Juneau airfield, possibly ever,” Craford said. “This project just really represents Alaska Seaplanes and our commitment; we’ve been here in Southeast Alaska for 25 years and we’re going to be here for another 25 years.”

A brief ceremony was held at the building site, which is located adjacent to the airport’s north terminal and was attended by Alaska Seaplanes and Juneau International Airport staff, as well as members of the Alaska Seaplanes Community Advisory Board. In a news release, Alaska Seaplanes co-owner and general manager Carl Ramseth said that in addition to the ceremony being a big moment for the company, it was also a culmination of a lot of planning and work by their staff in collaboration with the airport’s staff.

“Our cargo operations have been spread over a quarter mile during the airport expansion of the past two years. That’s been a huge challenge to say the least, and we are so looking forward to once again having a consolidated location to handle cargo for our customers,” Ramseth said.

While exact dates are still being finalized, marketing manager for Alaska Seaplanes Andy Kline said they hope to see operations running within the facility by the summer of 2023. Kline said public funds are not being spent on the project, and he could not provide an estimate of how much it will cost.

“We’re really hoping to get this rolling and going, we’re breaking ground today and that’s going to immediately start work, so we’re really hoping that we’re going to be using this facility by this upcoming summer,” Kline said. “It’s more than just a building, it’s really upping our game as far as efficiency and quality of service when it comes to freight cargo baggage handling, all of that for our customers, that’s something that we’re constantly trying to work on and work with our customers on. Getting this facility consolidated so that all of our people are in the same general area, we really think it’s going to help our operations.”

According to Craford, the efficiency of the new cargo building will largely be due to the fact that it will be equipped with updated technology that will aid them in their pursuit of time management and reliability, two key issues which Craford said especially came to light during the pandemic.

“It’s going to be a state of the art building, new technology, new processes, our whole objective is to get cargo out to the communities around Southeast Alaska with greater timeliness, greater reliability, and also be able to track all of that and better organize it,” Craford said. “Everyday we move stuff that people need, I think a great example of that was when we moved vaccines in December of 2020, that was extremely important and from that it just hit home how much people come to count on us, so we really wanted to step up our game with our cargo service and this building symbolizes just that.”

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

Breaking ground in this photo, from left to right, director of flight control for Alaska Seaplanes John Loverink, Alaska Seaplanes ramp manager Al Stemmerman, Alaska Seaplanes Juneau station manager Carla Saccomano, airport architect Ke Mell, Juneau International Airport manager Patty Wahto, director of customer service with Alaska Seaplanes Christine Loverink, Juneau Chamber of Commerce executive assistant Maggie McMillan, Northrim Bank Southeast manager Jaime Kissner, Jensen Yorba Wall architect Corey Wall, and Dawson Construction project manager Chris Gilberto. Each person was instrumental in the Alaska Seaplanes’ new cargo facility coming to fruition. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Breaking ground in this photo, from left to right, director of flight control for Alaska Seaplanes John Loverink, Alaska Seaplanes ramp manager Al Stemmerman, Alaska Seaplanes Juneau station manager Carla Saccomano, airport architect Ke Mell, Juneau International Airport manager Patty Wahto, director of customer service with Alaska Seaplanes Christine Loverink, Juneau Chamber of Commerce executive assistant Maggie McMillan, Northrim Bank Southeast manager Jaime Kissner, Jensen Yorba Wall architect Corey Wall, and Dawson Construction project manager Chris Gilberto. Each person was instrumental in the Alaska Seaplanes’ new cargo facility coming to fruition. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

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