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Western Alaska Gets a Boost in Fuel and Freight Deliveries


Anchorage, Alaska—NorthStar Gas (NSG) announced today an alliance that will improve fuel and freight deliveries to remote Western Alaska communities. NSG is in the process of having its own shallow-draft fuel and deck cargo barge built in Portland, Ore. that will be operated by Delta Western.

The “Cauneq,” a 162-foot long barge, will hit the water this April to make deliveries beginning in May. The “Cauneq,” a Yupik word meaning ‘A place or thing to turn to,’ will be capable of carrying up to 200,000 gallons of fuel along with deck freight.  In conjunction with the new barge, NorthStar Gas and Delta Western will work together in an effort to help stabilize fuel transportation costs in Western Alaska.  The timing is important as the Obama Administration has proposed cutting heating fuel subsidies, and rural Alaskans are looking for ways to help offset those costs.

NSG is a Native member-owned fuel distributor made up of 16 Alaska Village Corporations and two Regional Corporations.  NSG serves more than one hundred fifty businesses in nearly 50 villages in the Yukon, Kuskokwim and Coastal region and has delivered more than 43 million gallons of fuel.  Delta Western, a leading Alaska fuel distributor, has been serving Alaska communities throughout the state for almost 30 years.

“This is great news for Western Alaska,” said Elaine Brown, NorthStar Gas president.  “Many of our customers are also owners of NorthStar Gas, so this important step of fuel barge-ownership is very meaningful.”

The NSG-Delta Western alliance is a solid foundation for both companies to better serve Western Alaska communities.  “We are pleased to have the opportunity to provide fuel service to the NSG communities,” said Amy Humphreys, Delta Western president.  “Our alliance with NSG is an exciting development, which we believe will benefit residents throughout Western Alaska.”

“Fuel and freight services are significant costs for Western Alaskans,” said Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D- Bethel.  “This investment by NSG, a Native-owned organization, will provide the region with additional employment opportunities and a way to contribute toward stabilizing fuel transportation costs resulting in a tremendous benefit to my constituents.”

“This shallow-draft barge will enable successful fuel and freight deliveries when the rivers are low, thereby providing reliable service.  I applaud this Native-owned entity for their vision and dedication to their residents, businesses, and the public service entities of our region, “said Rep. Bob Herron, D-Bethel.

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