EDITOR, Daily News:
The acquiring of Crowley Fuels by Petro Marine is major setback for the entire Southeast Alaska community. This monopoly creating acquisition will inevitably lead to substantially higher gasoline and diesel prices in Southeast Alaska.
What's to prevent Petro Marine from gradually raising prices to just below the point where another competitor could come in to compete? If Petro Marine owns the entire oil infrastructure system in Southeast Alaska, wouldn't it set a high threshold for any future competitor? Wouldn't this result in hard-earned money being pulled out of our pockets and substantially raise the cost of doing business in all communities in Southeast Alaska?
A monopoly occurred in Southeast Alaska when Alaska Marine Lines acquired Northland Services.
Now we essentially have one company that runs container barges from Seattle to Southeast Alaska. It controls the prices for barging goods in the region, and has increased prices significantly since the acquisition — a direct result of no competition.
If you compare AML’s prices for routes they have competition for you will find they are forced to keep competitive business practices in those runs.
With our communities so hard hit by the pandemic’s effect on tourism and the market prices of fish, the last thing we need is to create another monopoly that will lead to higher costs in our community. The 5% price hike this December by AML illustrates this point.
It is the government’s job to ensure that monopolies aren’t allowed to take advantage of the general public. We must do whatever we can to prevent this travesty by blocking it or asking the Legislature to regulate the retail price of gasoline and diesel in Southeast Alaska.