A new international export for Alaska is moving across the docks at Port MacKenzie and drawing the interest of global buyers from Japan and South Korea.
A ship, flagged from Singapore, has been at Port MacKenzie since last Thursday, (Nov.8) loading some 8,000 tons of scrap steel, bound for South Korea.
Two gold dredges from Fairbanks, a local barge, and 11, 200-300-ton fishing boats from Seward were cut up previously and loaded among the cargo.
The effort is a test shipment to see if Alaska can export the product directly to South Korea. Presently scrap exports go straight to Seattle. By exporting directly from Alaska to Asia the shipping time is reduced by some 10 days, reducing transport costs. Hussain said the savings amounts to $280,000 to $400,000.
Working on the effort nearly 2.5 years, Syed Hussain is a managing partner of Tri Metal International LLC. Two international buyers of scrap metal for Japan and South Korea traveled to Port MacKenzie Saturday to observe the loading effort, and were very pleased, Hussain said. Breaking into the global competition has had its hurdles, he said. He said he is losing money on this shipment just to prove to the scrap industry that it can be done.
The global buyers visiting the dock Saturday include:
Masaharu Takahashi, President of Takahashi Co-Limited from Japan. Takahasi has been in the scrap business for 40 years and recently formed a new company.
Adeel Ko Ansari, Chief Operating Officer, of Shin Chuo KK, Japan, a Japanese used-vehicle trading company.
Ricky Kim, Manager Kolon Global Corporation Co., Ltd, of Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, a heavy and civil engineering construction firm with some 1,363 employees,
Six months ago a representative visited the scrap yard from Marubeni, Corporation, of Tokyo, Japan, one of the largest general trading companies in Japan, Hussein said.
He projects exporting 50,000 to 100,000 metric tons of scrap metal a year through Port MacKenzie. His company has been working with Prudhoe Bay contractors for removal of steel from the North Slope, as well as the removal of a derelict tank farm in Fairbanks. The company is also pursuing abandoned mining equipment and machinery via the Bureau of Land Management.
The ship is called Billesborg, a vessel with two cranes capable of 100-ton lifts each. The bright red ship was built recently in 2011 in China.
Ice presented no problems for the 450-foot ship tied up at the deep draft dock as crews worked round the clock.
“The ice of Cook Inlet presents some challenge to the efficiency at Port MacKenzie but absolutely no challenge to the operation of the Port,” said Emerson Krueger, Acting Facility Security Officer with the Borough.
Krueger said the dockage and wharfage fees generated for the Borough amount to some $30,000. A few dozen local jobs were created. The ship is expected to leave tonight, Nov. 15, and head to South Korea.