How the Seasons of Alaska Affect Commercial Industries

How the Seasons of Alaska Affect Commercial Industries

Alaska is a unique state in many ways. It boasts the largest land mass of any state in the United States and because of this, has the largest coastline not only of any one state, but of all states combined. In addition to these features, Alaska is known for having extremely long summer days and also having some of the shortest winter days on record anywhere. To further explain this phenomenon, here’s a quick science lesson:


Alaska typically has really long days during some times of the year and really short days during others as a result of its location in the far north, near the North Pole. This puts it very near the earth’s northernmost axis, which brings it closer to the sun when the earth tilts one way, but much farther from it when it tilts the other way.

Alaskan summer days tend to be very long as a result, and in some regions the sun never sets; in the winter, though, it may never rise, or come up for only a few hours at a time. Most of the regions on the opposite side of the earth, down at the South Pole, experience very similar seasonal shifts on an inverse schedule. When Alaska is having long summer days, Antarctica and the islands surrounding it typically experience the darkness of winter and vice versa. - wiseGEEK


Although this does affect a large section of the state, due to the large size of the state, not all communities are impacted by endless summer days and complete darkness during the winter. However, this unique Alaskan phenomenon can have an impact on certain industries.

Commercial & Residential Construction

The construction industry is one industry that benefits from the extra-long summer days in Alaska. During the harsh winter months, indoor construction projects continue but outdoor construction comes to a halt. However, once the cold winter days give way to warm summer ones, construction tends to pick up thanks to the long hours of daylight. Some places can experience between 17 and 24 hours of daylight during the summer months making for long work days and great opportunities for overtime. Most of the outdoor construction jobs are concentrated in Anchorage, Fairbanks and along the state’s North Slope.

Alaska tends to pay anywhere from 20-85% more for construction jobs than other states in the US. Due to the shorter construction season, these higher wages serve as an incentive for out-of-state workers to come to Alaska for seasonal construction work and also ensure that there will be enough workers to fulfill the high demand during the summer.

Here at Alaska Air Forwarding, we play a key role in Alaska’s construction industry. We ship all types of construction freight for both indoor and outdoor projects enabling the construction industry to remain efficient regardless of the time of year.

Entertainment & Film Production

Because of the stunning geography of the state, Alaska has become a top choice for TV and film production. Again, the longer summer days enjoyed in parts of the state, make this an ideal place for filming. However, while the winter can prove to be challenging, it is certainly not a deterrent for the film industry with local production companies providing scouting and logistical support for visiting film crews.

Alaska-based production companies know the terrain and offer experienced guides for getting to the best and most remote places in the state for filming. If a production company happens to need additional logistical support, they contact Alaska Air Forwarding. Where they may struggle to deal with harsh weather or a remote location, we are able to provide support by transporting needed equipment for filming to places that other companies won’t even consider.

Commercial Fishing

Alaska’s fishing industry is definitely impacted by the seasons. While fishing goes on year-round, the short winter days greatly limit the hours that fishermen can actually work in Alaska’s main waterways. Additionally, local lakes and streams become inaccessible during the winter months. As the seasons change, fishermen can consult Alaska.org to determine the exact number of daylight hours available during Alaska’s winter months as well as the lengthy hours of daylight available during the summer months.

Supporting the commercial fishing industry has been the primary mission of Alaska Air Forwarding since our beginning. We ship commercial fishing supplies to and from Alaska all year long. While we do appreciate the long summer days that Alaska offers, we are able to provide efficient shipping support during the winter months as well thanks to the knowledgeable staff in both our Anchorage and Dutch Harbor offices.

While some shipping companies may be deterred by Alaska’s seasonal changes, we are not. We know Alaska and we know how to work with the special challenges that are unique to shipping in Alaska, from the most rugged terrain in the most remote locations to the shortest days anywhere on the planet.

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