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Lynden's reliable service critical for Deadliest Catch, other Discovery Channel programs

Posted on Thu, Jun 27, 2013

The Wizard

The calm behind the storm

“You’re not in charge of your own destiny when you’re on a boat,” says Captain Keith Colburn during a particularly rough patch at sea. The TV program “Deadliest Catch” pits crab boats like Colburn’s Wizard and their crews against the deadly Bering Sea during King crab season. It is this chaotic, unpredictable environment that makes the show must-see TV for millions of Discovery Channel viewers.

It falls to Lynden International to get the rough footage of the program back from remote Dutch Harbor, AK and delivered to the producers of the show in California for editing and broadcast. In contrast to the unpredictable marine environment of the Deadliest Catch, the Lynden team is solid, steadfast and reliable. And Lynden knows Alaska. “All the digital program film comes through our Anchorage office for overnight air delivery to the Original Productions offices in Burbank,” says Account Executive Greg Obeso. “The film is on hard drives, so they are small boxes, but obviously of great value. Everything is time sensitive.”

The NorthwesternLynden also moves cameras, film, wet suits, helicopter mounts, and any other equipment needed for production of the program. With some cameras valued at $400,000 each, the shipments receive the highest priority and white glove treatment. And most everything is a rush, according to Obeso. “Once the shows are in production, everything is shipped on a ‘we need it now’ basis. Crew members are onsite waiting to film. If they have broken equipment, they need the parts immediately. Every wasted minute costs the producers money.”

That kind of stress leads to frayed nerves and tense moments. As the transportation provider, the Lynden team does its part to keep things calm and focus on solutions. “We hear things like divers are hitting the water in three hours, or weather is moving in. Urgency is the norm with these shipments,” Obeso says.

January is the busiest Norhtwesterntime with all three shows in production and Lynden handling shipments from three different producers and production teams to different locations in Winnipeg, Nome and Dutch Harbor. Lynden’s variety of transportation modes is a distinct advantage. “We have used Lynden Air Cargo’s 4-day-a-week scheduled service from Anchorage to Nome and, at other times when the freight is not so time sensitive, we have trucked and barged freight via Alaska Marine Lines and Lynden Transport,” explains International Agent Owen Mitchell.

A special Lynden customer service email and team has been set up to handle the daily and often three-times-daily shipments during production. The group is available 24-7 to respond to requests and issues.


Anchorage officeIn addition to Deadliest Catch, Original Productions produces Ice Road Truckers, Bering Sea Gold and even a program called Whisker Wars. Before Lynden came onboard, another freight forwarder was handling transportation for the shows. At one point freight was grounded in Sand Point, AK, which is 600 miles west of Anchorage and only accessible by boat or plane. “They were facing a two-week wait to get the freight out so the forwarder contacted us and we got the freight on another airline’s backhaul flight the same day,” Mitchell says.


By coincidence, Obeso was in Dutch Harbor at the same time working on projects for the seafood industry. “I happened to meet Producer Sheila McCormick through mutual contacts while she was filming land shots for the Deadliest Catch. I mentioned that the brokerage firm she was using was calling Lynden for help and that she could just call us directly in the future,” Obeso recalls. “That started this great working relationship that we have today.” Lynden began handling shipments for Deadliest Catch and six months later, the producer of Ice Road Truckers called. They were transitioning the program from Prudhoe Bay to Manitoba to begin filming in Canada. Lynden’s office in Ontario was a selling point as shipments could be routed into Winnipeg through Ontario instead of Anchorage and Lynden could handle all the freight plus customs brokerage, importing and exporting.


IceLynden now supports other programs such as Bering Sea Gold filmed in Nome, AK. One of the more challenging assignments was flying a large gold nugget into Nome for the series. For Ax Men, freight has been flown and barged into Southeast Alaska and, for the Whisker Wars program, Lynden took care of a large international shipment to Germany for the taping of the world beard competition. “Over the years, we have chartered flights and arranged transport of tri-pods, production equipment, wet suits, dive tanks, air compressors, arctic gear, ATVs, yurts and more,” Mitchell says. “We even flew gear to Adak in the Aleutian Islands where a boat met us to pick it up.  Lynden’s worldwide presence – especially in Russia, Canada and the Yukon – is a plus for producers as they scout new locations for programs.


Both Obeso and Mitchell agree that the work is challenging, but also exciting and a lot of fun. “It’s definitely something different than the normal shipments we handle,” Obeso says. “We consider ourselves the ‘calm behind the storm’ to keep things rolling during production. Reality television is fast-paced and deadline-focused. We work well under pressure and try to ease the load of the producers in the field.” For Obeso, who spent many years working in the seafood industry, one of the most memorable shipments wasn’t delivered to a remote filming site, but to a suburban location. Lynden flew 500 pounds of coveted blue crab from Alaska to Burbank for a Deadliest Catch season premier.

Tags: Lynden International, Discovery Channel, Logistics, Alaska shipping

Quick response draws praise from the top

Posted on Tue, Jun 25, 2013

Lynden Air Cargo night delivery to Alaska AirlinesLynden Air Cargo was singled out for praise earlier this year by Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden for its quick response in Cordova, AK.

“We were asked to fly from Anchorage to Seattle and pick up two engines to take to Cordova for one of their aircrafts that had experienced maintenance issues,” explains Jim Davis, Director of Marketing & Traffic for Lynden Air Cargo. “We headed out of Anchorage, got into Seattle about 2 a.m., departed at 4 a.m. and delivered the engines to an Alaska Airlines maintenance crew that was standing by in Cordova. Two days later we made a second night flight to retrieve the engines they had removed and take them back down to their maintenance base in Anchorage. It’s always nice to get positive feedback about our performance.” Lynden’s Hercules is shown making a night delivery in the photo above.

Tags: Hercules, Alaska Airlines, Lynden Air Cargo

Now that's a heavy haul!

Posted on Thu, Jun 20, 2013

Last fall Alaska West Express heavy haulAlaska West Express transported this boat (left, below) from Palmer to Anchorage. At 24 feet wide, 80 feet long and 17 feet tall, the cargo dwarfs the tractor. The kicker? The boat is not even as big as it gets. It’s missing its wheel house, which adds another 17 feet on top.

According to Steve Willford of Alaska West Express, the most challenging aspect of the project was moving the boat from the shop where it was built. “The shop outside of Palmer was not much bigger than the boat itself and was not one you could just casually drive away from, given the dimension of the boat,” he says. “With assistance from a winch truck and a short-yard tractor, the load was maneuvered safely to the main roadway. Ken Seipel was the driver and expertly demonstrated his dedication to getting the boat to its destination safely.”

Alaska West Express heavy haul

Photo credit: Sam Amato

Tags: Heavy Haul, Alaska West Express, oversize shipping, Alaska

Lynden companies awarded for workplace safety

Posted on Wed, Jun 19, 2013

Lynden Air Cargo, Brown Line and Lynden International were each recognized for workplace safety earlier this year.

Lynden International celebrated noBrown Line Safety Award with Bill Smith resized 600 Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) recordable accidents in 2012, according to Human Resources Manager Kristie Duggan. Brown Line received three awards from the American Trucking Association (ATA) in its National Truck Safety Contest. The company took first place in the general Commodities LTL/Line-Haul Division (up to 10 million miles traveled category); third place in the general Commodities LTL/Local Division and third place in the general Commodities LTL category.

“The awards are based on our accident-free records for the year,” explains Brown Line Safety Director Bill Smith. “Now that we are covering 6 to 7 million miles a year with 56 trucks and 120 drivers, we are in a new, more challenging category. We compete with trucking companies from throughout the U.S. with up to 1,000 employees and hundreds of trucks which makes the awards even more meaningful.”

LAC AACA award 2012 resized 600For more than 10 years, Lynden Air Cargo has received an annual Alaska Air Carriers Association (AACA) Safety Award.  AACA Board Members Mike Stedman and Bob Hajdukovich personally presented the 2012 award plaque to Director of Safety and Security Anthony Knapp in Anchorage last month (at left) in recognition of another year of operating with no aircraft accidents. “We couldn’t do the safe flying we do every day without the support and outstanding work of our maintenance and flight operations departments and the entire team,” Anthony says. “We work hard to follow safety measures and protocols and to do the job right. It’s rewarding to be recognized for these efforts year after year.”

Lynden Air Cargo, Lynden International and Brown Line will continue to focus on workplace safety in the coming year with regular meetings and employee training. “This year we are focusing our training efforts on a new and improved driver development program and driver retention as well as additional training for the shop, dock and office departments,” Bill says. “Safety is our No. 1 priority.”

Tags: Lynden International, Lynden, Awards, Lynden Air Cargo, Lynden employees, safety awards, Brown Line

Git along, little… caribou?

Posted on Thu, Jun 13, 2013

Hovercraft with caribou

Here's something you don't see every day! Lynden’s hovercraft almost looks like it’s moving along with the migrating caribou in this photo. According to Bering Marine Vice President and Captain Jack Rasmussen, the shot was taken this past winter at the hovercraft storage area near Oliktok Point, AK, about 40 miles west of Deadhorse.

Tags: Bering Marine Corporation, caribou, hovercraft, Alaska

Energy efficiency continues across Lynden companies

Posted on Tue, Jun 11, 2013

Green LyndenLynden companies continue to be committed to working lean and green every day of the year.  Since 2008, improvements such as lighting upgrades, motion sensors, heating and air conditioning improvements, and strategic insulation have resulted in dramatic energy efficiency improvements.

Alaska Hovercraft in Bethel replaced High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights with high efficiency fluorescents at the airport and shop and saw an immediate 26 percent reduction in electricity use. “We recouped the cost of both upgrades in less than two months. The new lights are so bright that we can shut down half the warehouse lights during low traffic work hours without any safety concerns,” says General Manager Kevin Carter.

At Alaska Marine Lines in Seattle, the newEnergy efficiency at Alaska Marine Lines Container Freight Station (CFS) expansion also included the installation of high efficiency lights. Employees came up with the idea to paint walls, ceiling, doors, and headers bright white and scrubbing and resealing floors. The white walls reflect light and eliminate the need for more lighting fixtures. “We also replaced the old thermostats and eliminated several heating systems working against each other,” explains Seattle Terminal Manager Mark Gaska.

Other improvements throughout Lynden companies include:

  • At LTI, Inc. in Sunnyside, WA, lighting upgrades in the shop and individual motion sensors installed on each light allow partial instead of full lighting of the shop. The change resulted in a 20 percent reduction in energy use.

  • Lynden International’s Boston employees worked with their landlord to install an automatic thermostat and saw a 30 percent reduction in electricity and heating use.

  • Anchorage's South Air Park facility uses "heat recovery" to heat some spaces while cooling others. A split duct in the IT computer room reroutes warm air into the basement below the offices and warm air from the second floor offices is rerouted to the cross dock.

  • In Fairbanks, Lynden Transport’s recent warehouse expansion and upgrades included installing a dock door “curtain” to reduce heat loss in the winter months plus new dock plates and insulation to keep a tight seal around the doors.  “But the biggest change was a new heating system which allowed us to manage our heat with digital thermostats. We can now set temperatures for specific times of day and days of the week,” says Manager Greg Busher. The changes have resulted in a 20 percent reduction in natural gas use from 2011 to 2012. The Fairbanks upgrades were identified as potential ideas in an energy audit for the company done in 2011.

“A number of our companies participated in the Alaska Energy Authority program and signed up for audits to identify priorities for energy upgrades in 2011 and 2012,” explains Anna Deal, Lynden’s Green Team and Green Initiative Coordinator. “The greatest opportunity for savings comes from replacing inefficient lighting, installing automatic controls such as digitally controlled thermostats and motion sensors, sealing air leaks and repairing insulation around dock doors and other areas.”

Tags: energy efficiency, green Lynden, Lynden employees, environmental efforts, Green Initiative

Lynden International launches newly designed website

Posted on Wed, Jun 05, 2013

Lynden International,Lynden International a full-service freight forwarding and logistics company, has launched a newly designed website at www.lynden.com/lint. The expanded and enhanced site was created by Lynden's marketing team to update and improve content and make navigation easier for new and current customers.

"We spent more than a year researching and fine-tuning the changes," explains Marketing & Sales Support Director Dorene Kolb. "Our goal was to make it easier for customers to find us online and then to find what they need on our site within two clicks of the mouse."

The new site offers user-friendly "solutions" pages with a case study and brochure for each to help customers learn more about Lynden services such as Global Coverage, Tradeshow, Oil & Gas and Pharmaceutical. The pages help customers research transportation and logistics projects and access the shipping tools they need.

Newly designed Lynden International website

Each page also features an icon to "get a quote or learn more" and allows customers to log onto EZCommerce to track shipments or use Lynden's LIVE CHAT feature to talk to a Lynden representative.

Lynden International is one of the Lynden family of companies, whose combined capabilities include: worldwide air and ocean forwarding, third-party logistics, trade show shipping, shipping to Alaska, truckload and less-than-truckload transportation, scheduled and charter barges, intermodal bulk chemical hauls, scheduled and chartered Hercules L-382 cargo aircraft and multi-modal logistics.

Tags: Lynden International, international shipping, freight forwarding, Website

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