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Island Trader Transportation Co.

Island Trader Transportation Co.

MARK OLSEN SEES SOME smooth sailing ahead for the small freight company he has managed and now is buying, the Island Trader Transportation Co., which serves villages in the Gulf of Alaska. The Kodiak Island-based company recently celebrated its first anniversary.

It's been a year of adjustments. Though Olsen says the company "got off to a rough start, learning and abiding by the U.S. Coast Guard regulations," it looks as though the business will turn a sizable profit.

Olsen is in the process of purchasing the firm from its parent company, Valentine Log and Delta Resources. Final approval was expected in October. He has been working with the Minority Business Development Center, a non-profit organization operated by Community Enterprise Development Corp., to receive funding from Railbelt Community Development Inc., which operates a loan program for the U.S. Small Business Administration.

When launching the cargo business, Olsen wondered if the Island Trader might be too large a vessel for the company's needs. But business around Kodiak Island has kept the 87-foot by 30-foot vessel cruising. Olsen and 13 employees have worked long hours to keep up with the work.

The Island Trader carries goods to logging and fishing camps and villages around the island. With the capability of transporting cargo ranging from tin cans for fish packing to groceries and fuel, Olsen considers his company "very versatile."

After 28 years in the fishing industry, Olsen is no stranger to the high seas. He was born and raised on Kodiak Island and knows the island, its people and its waters. And he'd like to cater to the needs of the local businesses. "We've had other offers for business," says Olsen. "But looking at the logistics, we'd like to stay in our own realm, so to speak."

One of the toughest obstacles Olsen faced the first year was getting the Island Trader recertified by the Coast Guard. It took some work, but the vessel, which had previously sailed through the sheltered bays of Southeast, needed and finally received its ocean certification to ply the waters off Kodiak. It was worth the effort. The Island Trader has a fair market value of $550,000 and a replacement value of $1.5 million.

In the months to come, Olsen looks forward to expanding the company and adding another vessel to handle the workload. "I like the challenge of meeting the needs of our area," says Olsen. With a philosophy like that, chances are Island Trader may tough out even the roughest seas.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Alaska Business Publishing Company, Inc.
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Native-Owned Enterprises
Author:Brynko, B.L.
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Article Type:company profile
Date:Nov 1, 1989
Words:423
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