Why is shipping to Alaska so expensive?

Are you planning to send some items to Alaska? Perhaps, you own an online store, and someone from the state just ordered your item; there are certain things you need to understand. One of them is the cost of shipping.  So, why is shipping to Alaska so expensive?

Shipping to Alaska is expensive due to its distance and remoteness, warehouse and storage costs, and mode of shipping. When choosing a carrier, you should consider the surcharges, delivery size, local regulations, and time of delivery. The best delivery carriers to Alaska are USPS, UPS, and FedEx.

When shipping to Alaska, it’s important to consider several factors so you can arrive at the most cost-effective way to ship to Alaska. Here, we discuss why it’s expensive to ship Alaska and other relevant things you should know.

Reasons for High Cost of Shipping to Alaska

If you have an online business and someone from Alaska orders from you, you’ll need to figure out the cheapest way to convey the goods to their destination, as this can make the difference in your profit margin and how many people are willing to buy from you. Whether shipping a small box or sending a whole car, you still need to figure out the cheapest option to send your goods to Alaska. Factors responsible for the high cost of shipping include:

1.      Distance and Remoteness

Alaska is the northernmost state in the US, and to get there on the land, you’ll have to pass through Canada. As the second non-contiguous state after Hawaii, shipping here presents some unique challenges for those who want to do it. Fortunately, all the major carriers ship to Alaska. But this comes with heavy surcharges and can take longer, especially if your item is going to remote areas within the state. Alaska is quite big, and almost 50% of its population stays in the Anchorage metropolitan area.

2.      Warehouse Costs

The delivery cost can also increase where your item has to be stored after they have been dispatched. Warehouses in the state are very expensive. Another factor that influences the cost of delivery here is the cost of living. Alaska is one of the most expensive states to live in the United States, with its healthcare costs alone being higher than most of the other states. In rural areas, electricity is also more expensive.

3.      Mode of Shipping

The shipping cost can be very expensive depending on whether you’re sending it by the ground, water, or air. Air shipping generally costs a lot more. How you choose to get the shipping postage might also influence the cost. You can use shipping software to buy postage online directly from the carriers as that’ll save you some money on shipping costs. Some shipping software offers the special USPS mail class known as Priority Mail Cubic. This allows you to send items up to 20lbs with the USPS to any of the 50 states in the US within 1 – 3 days. That’s one of the best deals possible. You can also use a consolidator to get a good deal when shipping.

Things To Note When Shipping to Alaska

Here are the important things you should consider when you’re sending items to Alaska:

1.      Surcharges

Most carriers impose high surcharges when you’re shipping to Alaska, especially the remote parts. They determine this based on zip code. Due to Alaska being the largest state in the country, there are many remote areas that you can only reach by boat or plane. So, if you’re shipping to these areas, expect a significant surcharge. So, it helps to consider different carriers and check their fees for these remote locations before choosing.

2.      Local Regulations

There could be local regulations that prevent the shipping of certain packages or require you to get a license before shipping some items. One of the strict rules here is against bringing some plants and animals into the state. This is part of the effort to protect the natural beauty and wildlife of the state. So, you may have to check the laws to see if what you’re sending is even allowed inside the state.

3.      Time of Delivery

Another thing to consider is the time of arrival. This is entirely dependent on the location you’re sending the item to.  But if it’s remote, you can expect it to take much longer to arrive. The mode you’re using to ship your item also matters. Usually, the cheaper the shipping fee, the slower your goods will take to get there. Although the delivery time is usually stable, shipping to Alaska can be affected by issues such as snowstorms and natural disasters. 

4.      Size of your delivery

Shipping costs will generally vary based on weight, size, shipping address, and shipping method. Even though shipping to Alaska is still domestic shipping, the state’s distance is a major issue that influences the cost. Don’t be surprised if your logistics company charges extra fees.

Best Ways to Ship into Alaska

It’s important to look for the cheapest and most suitable shipping rates when sending your items to Alaska. This is the only way to ensure profit without sacrificing the customer delivery experience. Here are the best carriers to use for getting your goods into Alaska.

1.      USPS

The United States Postal Services carrier offers the cheapest shipping rates for Alaska and would be the best option to deliver your item if you run an online store. They’re best for shipping light packages below 70lbs. But if it’s anything above that, they don’t accept it. It classifies Alaska as either USPS Zone 7 or 8 and will charge you the regular domestic prices for USPS mail classes going to any of those zones. Only USPS doesn’t impose any extra charges on shipping to Alaska.

2.      UPS

UPS is the best option to send your goods over if you have large and heavy packages. It has a weight limit of 150lbs, and it’s best for items within 70 and 150lbs. There are several options when using UPS, but the cheapest is the UPS ground if you don’t mind the delivery time of your items.

3.      FedEx

Do you have overnight delivery or want something to get to Alaska as fast as possible? Then use FedEx. With their service, you can have your packages in Alaska as soon as the next morning. There are several options such as priority mail, next flight, etc. if it’s urgent or an emergency, FedEx is the best option. But it can be costly.

In Conclusion

Shipping to Alaska is pretty expensive and time-consuming because of the distance. But you can manage the cost by knowing the best way to ship your product and adopting other cost-saving methods.