Freight delays leave some Bristol Bay stores short on perishables

Jan 3, 2018

Eggs and milk are among the products running low in Togiak stores that await bypass mail deliveries.

Bypass mail arrives in shrink-wrapped pallets.
Credit KDLG/ Avery Lill

Shipping delays are leaving shelves light in some Bristol Bay stores. The word from air carriers is that delays are due to weather.

It has been two weeks since the village of Togiak has received a bypass mail shipment, which is how most how most of their groceries arrive.

“We have no milk, no eggs, and we have no pop, no potato chips,” said Tom Lowe who owns Togiak Bay Supply. He says that the delay is affecting both his store and the other grocery store in town. “There’s no eggs in either store. I believe the other, larger store is out of milk now too. It seems to be affecting the whole general area.”

Iliamna received a shipment of bypass mail Wednesday. It had been a week since the last shipment, which was also delayed. Iliamna Trading Company manager, Diana Armstrong, said delivery has been sporadic for the last month. To account for delays, she stocks multiple weeks’ worth of non-perishable goods. Before Wednesday’s delivery, her store was running low on fresh produce.

“We are out of eggs completely,” Armstrong said on Tuesday. “But I can’t order three weeks of eggs at a time like I do a lot of other items because of this because, you know, you don’t want to give them rotten eggs.”

Both Iliamna and Togiak rely on Everts Air Cargo as their only bypass mail carrier. A sales representative at the company said that the delays were due to “horrific weather around the state.”

Northern Air Cargo, which delivers bypass mail to Dillingham and King Salmon, has cancelled or not scheduled regular flights to both hubs in the last week. A representative said that, for their company, delays were also likely due to weather. 

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