Why UPS SurePost Packages Take 3 WEEKS to Arrive in Anchorage, Alaska — “Once a number of containers are full, they get BARGED to Anchorage. Typically a 2 week ocean voyage”

6 mph?

Astonishingly, many packages now take 3 weeks to arrive in Anchorage. How can this be? Even if shipped by sea, Horizon’s freighters only take four days. I finally decided to figure out why.

A package that I ordered three weeks ago started out in Arizona shipped UPS Ground to the port in Washington state. That took five days. UPS tracking then says “Package transferred to post office.” Then we just wait, and wait, and wait….

Then it was transferred to the Post Office who put it on a BARGE, not a ship (see below). I can only find the speed of a barge on rivers, which is 6 mph. Perhaps these ocean barges crawl along at similar rates. I’ve seen some take forever in Cook Inlet going from Point Woronzof to the Port of Anchorage, but had no idea people’s packages were on board. No wonder it takes so long!

I finally found the USPS tracking number in the Additional Information section on the bottom of the UPS tracking page. My package arrived today, 20 days after being shipped.

xalaska.com explains it this way:


The Tragedy of SurePost YW packagesAt the request of the shipper some packages are shipped via super-cheap UPS SurePost.

All that UPS does is take this package from the shipper to the Seattle Post Office.

Afterwards it is in the hands of the Postal Service (USPS)You can tell it is a SurePost shipment when the letters “YW” appear in the tracking number; eg:

1Z78Y99FYW62553722

Notice the “YW” in the number. It is next handed to the Federal Way Post Office hub, in Seattle, Washington.

Eventually the Postal Service takes it to the Barge Company, where it is put in shipping containers. Once a number of containers are full, they get BARGED to Anchorage. Typically a 2 week ocean voyage.

Once in Anchorage, the containers are taken to the USPS Airport Annex at the Anchorage Internationl Airport, broken down, and Nome packages sent to Nome, AK.

The process, from Shipper to Nome Post Office takes
From Three to Six Weeks!

Track this yourself;

  • Track UPS Portion at www.ups.com using the 1Z number.
  • Observe upon arrival at Federal Way, WA, it is assigned a USPS number
    (example) 9261 2901 0029 7351 1036 8802 16
  • Track the postal number at www.usps.com
  • Watch it make its way from Federal Way, to Anchorage and eventually to Nome

Please Note That:

  • Neither UPS or USPS is to blame for the long transit time.
  • Both UPS and USPS are doing what they were paid for to do by the Shipper …

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