Matson-Providence Partnership Makes Quick Work of Delivering PPE to Kodiak
The container with 1,300 face shields inside is loaded on Matson’s Tacoma at the Port of Alaska.
Just days after the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed on Kodiak Island, Providence Alaska Foundation had a shipment of medical-grade face shields ready to be transported from the Foundation’s hub in Anchorage to the Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center. Since the virus has a 14-day incubation period and it was difficult to trace all of the community members the infected individual may have come in contact with, Kodiak’s healthcare facilities were gearing up to handle a possible influx of cases.
Providence Alaska Foundation had acquired three pallets of face shields, each weighing approximately 240 pounds, for distribution to its critical access hospitals in Kodiak, Valdez, and Seward. On Monday morning, April 20, Foundation staff began searching for a way to transport the face shields to Kodiak.
Knowing that Matson provides service to Kodiak from Anchorage, they contacted the ocean carrier that afternoon. Within minutes of receiving the request, Matson’s Senior Vice President, Bal Dreyfus, approved the donation of shipping services to move the pallet of face shields from Anchorage to Kodiak.
“Improving the quality of life in the communities we serve is one of the pillars of Matson’s corporate culture,” says Dreyfus. “We heard about the first diagnosed case of COVID-19 in Kodiak over the weekend and recognized the importance of getting the face masks on our ship departing Anchorage for Kodiak the next day.”
The pallet of face shields is delivered to the Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center.
Matson typically transports large volumes of containerized cargo and vehicles. Since the pallet did not fill a container, Matson’s management team began working with the Anchorage Independent Longshore Union Local No. 1 and Teamsters Local 959 in Anchorage and the ILWU Alaska Longshore Division 222 in Kodiak on a solution to get the pallet from the Providence Alaska Foundation’s hub in Anchorage to its critical care facility in Kodiak.
After learning about the move, tight timeline and load, Matson’s gatehouse and equipment control manager, Lee Fisher, volunteered to personally transport the pallet from the Providence Alaska hub in mid-town Anchorage to Matson’s terminal at the Port of Alaska. Once at the terminal, members of the AILU fork lifted it off of Lee’s truck and created space for the pallet in one of the car containers destined for Kodiak.
Matson’s ship, the Tacoma, departed Anchorage with the pallet onboard on Tuesday evening and arrived in Kodiak approximately fifteen hours later. After the container was discharged at the Port of Kodiak, Rick Kniaziowski, Matson’s Kodiak Terminal manager, personally delivered the essential PPE to the loading bay at Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center on Wednesday afternoon.
“We appreciate the quick response and creative problem-solving on behalf of Matson to get the face shields to Kodiak so quickly,” says Gina Bishop, chief executive officer of the Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center. “We were astounded by how quickly they arrived. We are, however, very fortunate in that we have not yet had to care for a COVID-19 patient, which has kept our supply of PPE at a healthy level.”
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The face shields are discharged from Matson’s Tacoma at the Port of Kodiak.
Reflecting on the decision to support the move, Dreyfus says, “We appreciate Providence Alaska Foundation for providing the PPE and everything their staff is doing across the state. We are grateful for all of our community partners and businesses who are offering their resources to help fellow Alaskans. From car shops retrofitting their machines to make PPE, to the healthcare providers serving our communities, the teamwork we are seeing across our state is inspiring and shows Alaskans understand that we are in this together, we are going to get through this together, and we are ultimately stronger together.”
To date, Kodiak Island’s COVID-19 case count remains at one.