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Lynden Transport on the build with Sprung Industries

Posted on Wed, Jul 01, 2020

Lynden Transport delivery in FairbanksLynden Transport is delivering materials for a project at Fort Wainwright military base near Fairbanks, AK this spring and summer. Drivers are hauling 58 loads of large tent frames and insulation from Salt Lake City and Calgary for the construction of seven buildings on base for customer Sprung Industries. According to Lynden Transport Regional Sales Manager Tony Vitoff, DynCorp International is handling the construction and Sprung Industries is supplying the materials. Loads are moving over the highway or water depending on construction timeline requirements and are being coordinated through Lynden Transport's Portland and Fairbanks Service Centers.

"Lynden Transport has gone the extra mile to support the Wainwright project by staging structures in their yard until we need them on site," says Gary Smith, DynCorp International (DI) Project Manager. "DI appreciates this kind of support which is critical to our collective success."

Tags: Lynden Transport, Shipping to Alaska, Lynden Capabilities

North to Alaska, South by Barge: Voyage of a Reefer Tech

Posted on Mon, Jun 29, 2020

AML reefer techs in SeattleEvery fishing season, Alaska Marine Lines refrigeration mechanics (reefer techs) leave Seattle and make the journey north to keep Lynden's refrigerated containers (reefers) in top shape. The techs fly to Alaska and then accompany the loaded reefers on the southbound barges. These ride-along-with-the-reefer trips have been taking place for years, but the voyage of the reefer technician has not been well known. Until now.

Mechanic Greg Restad was so impressed with his off-site assignment that he decided to document his experience. Greg's notes provide a unique look behind the scenes of this annual effort to protect customers' fish and other refrigerated freight and maintain Lynden's equipment. It should be noted that Greg has 30 years of experience working on refrigerated equipment including working for Les Candee and Art Burg at Foss Maritime in the early 1980s.

According to Assistant Maintenance and Repair Manager Steve Tafoya, mechanics check around 3,000 reefers each year during the north-to-south trips. Most reefers last around 20 years, but with excellent care, they can last longer.

"We run a pre-trip inspection anytime a reefer enters the yard so we keep close tabs on all equipment and any emerging problems," Steve says. "It could be power, a leak, burnout of the evaporator motor or something else. The most common issue with reefers is a lack of communication with the tug. Our mechanics also check and service generator sets, make sure gear vans are stocked and that the GRASP reefer monitoring system, all plugs and time share panels are working," Steve explains. Everything is documented and becomes part of the service record.

Mechanics sleep on the tug when the barge is under way or in bunkhouses in Naknek, Dillingham and St. Paul. Meals are eagerly anticipated as the tug cooks are known for their gourmet cooking. "Naknek has a great bunch of guys and good accommodations," Greg says. "They made me feel welcome and fed me well. It's nice when I get a couple days to check out the yard and my units before loading because once they start loading, these guys move. Everyone pitches in to get us in and out of port. I never heard 'It's not my job' even when I had a container I couldn't fix that was located in the middle of the stack. They had to bring in a barge alongside and crane it out of the middle of my barge. 'It's no one's fault; it can't be helped; let's get it done' was their response."

It's not always smooth sailing. Sometimes parts have to be flown in to repair a reefer or an employee needs medical care. One tech was suffering from an abscessed tooth and had to come back to Seattle, so he traded places with the next tech on the list.

And then there are rough seas. On Greg's first outing in Naknek, he was worried when he heard about 16-foot seas on the voyage. "The 70-knot gusts almost knocked me off my feet in the yard, and then they told me we were going to leave," he says. "Thankfully, Captain Eric kept the wind behind us, charted sheltered waters and, by the time we got into the Gulf, the seas had calmed down to 10 feet. The crews were always great. They were polite and forgiving when I wasn't familiar with the program and ran me though the safety procedures and orientation. It was fun to see how fast I could don a survival suit."

Although the reefer techs are away from home for long periods, they are treated to delicious meals like prime rib and salmon prepared by the tug cooks. The views are pretty good, too. Eagles, whales, sharks and porpoises all share air and sea space with the barges and tugs in the North Pacific. For many reefer techs, it's a nice change of scenery from working in the Seattle yard.

"These techs are on the front line making sure our reefers are keeping the fish cold and the perishables fresh," Steve says. "They spend months away from home, family and friends to uphold the Lynden brand of service. We all appreciate the work they do."

Tags: Barge, Alaska Marine Lines, Lynden employees, Crew Experiences

Alaska Marine Lines expands fleet with two big barges

Posted on Mon, Jun 22, 2020

Alaska Marine Lines barge in SeattleAlaska Marine Lines (dba Aloha Marine Lines in Hawaii) expanded its fleet with the purchase of two cargo barges, the Kamakani and Namakani, from Oregon based Sause Bros. Sause terminated its Hawaii service in March and Alaska Marine Lines is now serving its customers.

The Kamakani (above) and the Namakani are now the largest of all Alaska Marine Lines vessels – each with a 438-foot overall length and 105 feet of width and a payload of 16,869 tons. "For comparison, our railbarges are 420 feet long and 100 feet wide with a payload of 15,300 tons," explains Tom Crescenzi, Seattle Service Center Manager. The Kamakani was constructed by Gunderson Marine in 2008 and the Namakani in 2016. Both are fitted with 22-foot-high cargo binwalls and an internal ballast system.

"While the initial sailing of the Kamakani on April 18 was definitely the heaviest Hawaii single barge sailing to depart from Terminal 115 in Seattle, she also had the least amount of lashing," Tom says. "Between the walls and the rod lashings we dropped close to 90 percent of the lashing compared to a regular Hawaiian sailing. We still have a number of things to learn and improve on, but Hawaii Barge Master Brad Hughes did a great job on the first round. Everyone has put in a lot of work and, considering the size of this sailing and the short time we've had to handle the switch-over from Sause, everyone really stepped up."

In addition, Aloha Marine Lines moved from Pier 29 in Honolulu to the old Sause Bros. location at Pier 5 Kalaeloa – Barber's Point in Kapolei, HI. "Our new location is much closer to our high-volume customers in the industrial park area of Kapolei which will offer more delivery efficiencies to our Hawaii customers," says Jake Maenpa, Vice President Sales.

Tags: Shipping to Hawaii, Alaska Marine Lines, Hawaii, Lynden Capabilities, Aloha Marine Lines

Everyday Hero Profile:  Kenneth 'Took' Laraux

Posted on Wed, Jun 17, 2020

Lynden is recognizing employees who make a difference every day on the job and demonstrate our core values, Lynden's very own everyday heroes! Employees are nominated by managers and supervisors from all roles within the Lynden family of companies. Learn more about the people behind your shipment.

Introducing Took Laraux, Captain at Bering Marine in Bethel, Alaska.

Everyday Hero Kenneth Took LaRauxName: Kenneth 'Took' Laraux

Company: Bering Marine Corporation

Title: Captain

On the job since: 1997

Superpower: Reading the river

Hometown: Bethel, AK

Bucket List Destination: Anywhere where there are more animals than people

For Fun: Fishing and hunting

How did you start your career at Lynden?
My dad, Butch, owned United Transportation with some partners and delivered fuel and freight on the Kuskokwim River. In the mid-1980s Crowley bought the company. I ran my own barge for awhile, the Elsie-M. It is a 66-foot landing craft that my son Gux now owns. I started working for Bering Marine in 1997. I have worked for Bering Marine, the hovercraft operation, Knik, Alaska Marine Lines, Alaska Marine Trucking and other companies along the Kuskokwim River in Alaska and other places. My son, Gux, works for Bering Marine, too. He is in charge of the hovercraft operation.

What is a typical day like for you?
I go pretty much nonstop with the tug and barge from April to late October. In the winter season I help my son with the hovercraft. There are so many different things happening in the Kuskokwim area that I may be working on projects for Knik or other companies week to week. I am not just the captain on the Arctic Gull tug but am also the engineer and deckhand depending on what is needed at the time. I can operate cranes or other kinds of equipment if help is needed loading barges.

What has been most challenging in your career?
Weather and keeping equipment running. Also staying on time with marine schedules and dealing with tides, wind and the water level on the river.

What changes have you seen over the years, either in business, equipment, customers or technology?Better equipment that makes it less likely to break down or need as much maintenance.

What project are you most proud of?
I have been told that I have hauled more aggregate (rock) down the Kuskokwim River to Bethel and other Knik job locations than any other vessel captain. I am pretty good at navigating uncharted water on the river. I can repair equipment if needed and get it back up and running so there is no lost time at a job site. I try to think of the most efficient way of getting a job done. I like to get the assignment, talk about options and then get it done ahead of schedule.

Can you tell us about your growing up years?
I was born in Bethel. I have five brothers and sisters. My wife and I have three sons and two daughters. I did some commercial fishing on the Kuskokwim and Yukon Rivers starting in the 1970s and also some trapping over the years.

What would surprise most people about you?
I got my nickname of 'Took' by riding on tugboats with my father. The motor made a 'took, took' sound and I would make that sound as a little boy. It stuck and now I am known more by Took than my given name of Kenneth.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
I fish for salmon and hunt for moose and caribou. Every winter I go into the woods and cut firewood to give to elders in the community of Bethel and surrounding villages on the coast. I also hunt for them so they have food during the winter months, usually caribou. I have a lot of snow machines and sometimes make sleds to tow behind them. Spend some time woodworking, too.

Tags: Everyday Heroes

LTI, Inc. Idaho drivers deliver groceries for WinCo

Posted on Thu, Jun 11, 2020

LTI, Inc. carries groceries for WinCo FoodsLTI, Inc. drivers in Caldwell and Jerome, ID answered the call this spring when the supermarket chain WinCo Foods was hit with an unprecedented demand for groceries due to the shelter-in-place orders. WinCo's daily freight volumes grew from 2.4 to 7 million pounds of grocery products. "We agreed to help and quickly sent out trucks and drivers to the Boise, ID distribution center," says LTI, Inc. Operations Manager Gordy Sant. "Within the same day Caldwell drivers were hauling 400,000 pounds of groceries to several WinCo locations." In all, LTI, Inc. drivers hauled 3.4 million pounds of freight to various Idaho communities during the rush period. Jerome drivers also hauled loads to Salt Lake City, Western Oregon or wherever products were needed. "Everyone at LTI, Inc. pulled together to cover shifts for these drivers so we could assist in this emergency situation," Gordy says. "We continue to haul groceries for WinCo as needed. This is a great example of how Lynden and its people can quickly diversify and an opportunity to show our strength in an area outside of the milk industry."

Tags: LTI Inc., Trucking, Lynden Capabilities

Lynden employees help deliver medical supplies to Lebanon

Posted on Fri, Jun 05, 2020

PortEarlier this year Lynden International's Wendy Pavlik, Dave McGeath and Ollie Ladd had to keep calm and carry on while waiting out a blocked ocean shipment to Lebanon for nonprofit partner Hearts in Motion.

A full container-load of donated medical supplies, including walkers, bandages and wheelchairs, was loaded in Schererville, IN destined for Lebanon. Unfortunately, as the shipment was enroute, protestors shut down government and blockaded streets in Lebanon. Wendy and Dave kept in close touch with their contacts at Hearts in Motion to let them know that they were doing all they could to resolve the restricted shipment.

The container was consigned to the Government of Lebanon but protesters targeted anyone in the government as part of the corruption problem, so none of the government officials that normally would release the container from the port were in a position to do so. After three months of effort, an inside diplomatic contact secured approval to take delivery of the container and distribute the contents.

"The end result is that our professional perseverance provided the support our customer needed. The work Lynden employees do to serve challenging international locations keeps the Lynden name high above all others," Ollie says.

Tags: Lynden International, Lynden Capabilities

Alaska Marine Lines employees participate in Stay 6', Stay Safe campaign

Posted on Tue, Jun 02, 2020

Alaska Marine Lines Stay Safe campaignAlaska Marine Lines launched a Stay 6', Stay Safe campaign and contest to encourage social distancing among onsite employees in Seattle, Alaska and Hawaii, according to Bridgette Bell, Director of Human Resources.

The contest ran for a few months and employees submitted ways they were staying safe while at work as well as at home to be entered into the weekly drawing. The employee whose name was drawn won a gift card to a local restaurant in an effort to support local businesses who are also feeling the effects of the pandemic.

Some of the employee led social distancing ideas included employees eating lunch outside or in their car instead of the lunchroom and taping a 6 foot line on the floor in offices. One manager even created a 6 foot safety stick as a tool to give employees a sense of how far away 6 feet actually is.

Even though the contest is no longer running employees are still supporting each other by maintaining social distancing guidelines. Pictured above are employees at the Yard 1 Diesel Shop in Seattle. "We are all in this together, just 6 feet apart," Bridgette says.

Tags: Alaska Marine Lines, Lynden employees

Sea urchins to Kombucha, Brown Line carries cool freight

Posted on Fri, May 29, 2020

Brown Line employee loading a truckBrown Line's 'bread and butter' is the I-5 corridor from Washington to California. Four days a week drivers make the trip hauling fresh and frozen fish, chicken and other refrigerated products up and down the coast.

"We also haul some lesser-known types of freight, like sea urchin and Kombucha," explains Riley Rosvold, Brown Lines Sales Manager. The round, spiky creatures are harvested for the eggs inside, called roe, which is used in sushi. Brown Line is the only carrier in the Pacific Northwest trusted to carry the high-value, temperature-sensitive freight.

Divers bring the urchins to the surface during the winter months and they are delivered to Brown Line for transport to Oxnard and Los Angeles, CA. They are then processed and the roe is flown to Japan.

Sea urchin"We are diversifying our freight hauls," Riley says. "In the past, Brown Line has been reliant on the seafood industry, but now we are moving into more dairy and vegan products." Offering both truckload and LTL service throughout the U.S. and Western Canada, Brown Line provides companies with a variety of delivery options.

"Natural foods businesses are turning to us for reliable and safe delivery of yogurt-based drinks, vegan protein drinks and probiotics like Kombucha fermented tea." Every Thursday, Brown Line drivers pick up approximately 30,000 pounds of LTL freight from Yakult USA in Fountain Valley, CA and deliver to locations throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada, including grocery stores in Oregon and Washington.

"Our freight is extremely time-sensitive due to short shelf life and expiration dates, so we have to be vigilant about traffic, deadlines and equipment," Riley explains. "Many customers shipping fresh and chill products have sell-by dates which are less than a week after production. It is a testament to our driving teams and dispatchers that our customers trust us to deliver their products at the peak of freshness and quality – especially in the congested Los Angeles area. Routing our trucks efficiently and effectively is imperative."

Jon Morris credits Brown Line with the successful startup of his company Ocean Life Enterprises of Anacortes, WA last year. "Not once during the entire season did we fail to deliver on time," he says.

Last year Brown Line took delivery of 12 reefer trailers featuring the TransTex Edge TopKit Aerodynamic System which provide a 5.5 percent improvement in fuel mileage. In addition, 17 fuel-efficient Freightliner Cascadia Trucks were purchased that average 8 miles per gallon. The state-of-the-art equipment helps drivers get the job done, protects the fragile freight and gives customers confidence in the company. "We get feedback that our clean and modern equipment is one more reason customers place their trust in us," Riley says.

Tags: Unique freight, Brown Line

Lynden Transport delivers new classrooms to Kaktovik, AK

Posted on Wed, May 20, 2020

Modular building on truckLynden Transport Driver James Delowsky (right) hauled a modular building from Edmonton to Kaktovik, AK to serve as a classroom for students after the school burned down in February. Kaktovik is a Native Alaskan Village along the Arctic Coast of the Beaufort Sea with a population of 250. The school and gym were the heart and hub of the community, according to JD Lavender, Branch Operations Leader for Willscot, Lynden's customer.

"The nearest school is 150 miles away so we need to get these buildings delivered as soon as possible," he says. "I have been impressed with the Lynden team and the drivers' attention to safety." Lynden moved 12 modules from Edmonton and 13 from Wasilla to Deadhorse. From there, they were transported to the remote village by Rolligons outfitted with special tires designed for the sensitive tundra.

Tags: Trucking, Lynden Transport, Shipping to Alaska, Drivers

Everyday Hero profile: Karter Koelsch

Posted on Tue, May 19, 2020

Lynden is recognizing employees who make a difference every day on the job and demonstrate our core values, Lynden's very own everyday heroes! Employees are nominated by managers and supervisors from all roles within the Lynden family of companies. Learn more about the people behind your shipment.

Introducing Karter Koelsch, Freight Operations Lead at Alaska Marine Trucking in Juneau, Alaska.

Everyday Hero Karter KoelschName: Karter Koelsch

Company: Alaska Marine Trucking

Title: Freight Operations Lead

On the job since: 1998

Superpower: Organization

Hometown: Juneau, AK

Favorite Movie: Serenity: Firefly

Bucket List Destination: Galapagos Islands

For Fun: Date nights, hiking with my kids, playing on league softball and volleyball teams

How did you start your career at Lynden?
My dad knew Don Reid when he was the Port Manager at Arrowhead Transfer. Don called my dad and told him they needed part-time summer help, so starting in 1992, I was a swamper for the summer and then spent Sundays during the winter unloading Lynden trailers with Brian Lopez.

After that I went to the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau, earned my AA and then attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins. In 1996 I came back to Juneau and started working in the Alaska Marine Lines warehouse while I took classes.

I moved up to checker and then started driving box trucks and making deliveries. In 2001, after about 3 years of driving, they promoted me to the yard to load and unload barges, help customers and manage the daily work there.

What is a typical day like for you?
No day is typical. Our days depend on when the barges arrive. I'll check the barge schedules to see the estimated time of arrival. I wake up Sunday morning and look at the ETA. From Petersburg to Juneau is 12 hours so I have that much notice to get the yard set up for the barge – making sure the manpower is where it needs to be, setting it up so the trucks and customers can get in. We are the first ones in when the barges arrives and the last ones out, sending it on its way.

We also need to know what is coming up on the barge from Seattle. You want to get the barge in and out as quickly as possible so the crew doesn't miss a tide to get to the next port. We have containers that come off, but also flats of palletized freight that need to go into the warehouse for our warehouse crew to break down and deliver.

When the first northbound barge comes in, it takes six hours to get it unloaded and reloaded. Then it goes up to Haines, Skagway and Kensington. We have to clear the yard and set it back up with our southbound freight and empty containers we are sending back down to Seattle, making sure we leave enough room for the other ports. In between the barges arriving, we all head home for some sleep. It's not a 24-hour schedule but the hours can definitely vary depending on weather delays and other factors. Sunday to Wednesday is the busy time and Thursday and Friday are our recovery days where we prepare for the next week.

What has been most challenging in your career?
Weather. Wind is a big issue in Juneau. We have the Taku winds named after the Taku Inlet. We can sometimes get 100 mph gusts. It's tough to work in that kind of environment. We have to make sure everything is secure. One day we had to shut down which was the right call. We wear protective gear to protect us against rain and snow but it still gets pretty cold up here. Sometimes customers don't understand that we are dealing with weather and many other issues to get the barges up to Juneau. They have high delivery expectations and usually we meet those expectations, but we are also at the mercy of things out of our control. Right now we are the best friends of everyone in Southeast because we have continued to deliver toilet paper, masks and other essentials they need during the COVID crisis!

What are you most proud of in your career?
Every year our family goes to Hawaii and when I return to work some customers tell me they are glad I'm back. That always makes me feel good that I have regulars who like to deal with me. The most rewarding thing I have done is training some of our employees to operate a forklift or earn a Class A CDL. I really enjoy being a mentor.

Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
I grew up in Juneau with my parents Ken and Marian and a younger sister Amber. My parents still live in Juneau and they have been helping us with online school and childcare during the COVID changes. My wife Deborah is a nurse and she is working from home so my parents have been taking our three kids and helping with classwork. Our three kids are Kaylee, 12, Fiona, 9 and Kendell, 5.

My dad taught high school English and American Government and also directed n musicals and the school newspaper. He was very popular with his students. You can't go anywhere in Juneau without someone knowing him. Three or four nights a week we would have kids at our house for extra help with schoolwork.

I grew up swimming and playing soccer, basketball and baseball. In high school I lettered and competed at state all four years in cross country, swimming, track, student government, and high school spring musicals. I also played competitive soccer in the summer leagues.

Both my parents grew up on farms in Michigan so we would go back and visit family there. When I was 4, my Dad did a teacher exchange in Australia. We stayed in Melbourne for a year. We all went back in 1987 to travel around and reconnect with people there. The U.S. had lost the American's Cup for the first time, so we went down and watched Dennis Connor get that back in Perth. We rented a van and went all over the country.

I live on Douglas Island so I cross a bridge to get to Juneau for work. Our house has 8-foot windows and a view. Those 8-foot windows really start to vibrate when we get the high winds.

What was your first job?
I mowed lawns for two neighbors. They each paid me in a six pack of coke and a case of beer for my Dad. That went on for a couple of summers until I rebelled. My first paying job was working in a tourist arts and craft gift shop called Annie Kaill in Juneau. I was the box boy. The coolest perk was the jelly beans. I was always eating them.

What would surprise most people about you?
I have visited almost 50 countries in Europe, Asia, the Caribbean and the South Pacific.

I've had a bunch of sports injuries and broken bones, but once a doctor had to break a bone for me. I was skateboarding in Australia. I went down a hill too fast, bailed and landed on my wrist. The bone was bent, but not broken, so the docs numbed me up, held my arm and broke it for me. They had to make sure it would heal straight. That was in 7th grade.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
I like gardening, landscaping and working with wood. I also play poker with a bunch of buddies. We play for money but the most I've ever won is $100. I also play league softball on a men's team and on a co-ed volleyball team.

What do you like best about your job?
The sense of accomplishment. Even though you are pretty worn out after, it's a good feeling to put all the pieces in the right place to receive a barge and then set others up to carry on after it leaves your port. We all pull together to deal with adversity, like plowing the yard out after a big snow, or an unexpected summer shuttle barge. I also enjoy our tie with Alaskan Brewery and the other breweries up here. We ship everything from bottles to kegs both northbound and southbound. This winter we supported a tram project in Hoonah through Channel Construction barges. It's always something new at Alaska Marine Trucking, and we are a key component in everyone else's success.

Tags: Everyday Heroes

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