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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

Lynden companies and employees weather brutal winter storms

Posted on Tue, Apr 03, 2012

Historic storms hit Alaska and Washington this winter and Lynden companies pulled together to keep the freight moving and equipment operating in the harsh temperatures and record snows. Hardest hit is the Railbelt in Central Alaska while Whittier, Fairbanks, Anchorage and Kenai have had adverse weather for most of the winter.  Whittier has had 380 inches of snow this winter, and Valdez has received 403.9 inches of snow and is considered the snowiest locale in America. Cordova and Whittier are not far behind. Anchorage has had over 10 feet of snow this year. “With snowfall expected to be heavy in March*, we have a shot at the all-time record,” says Scott Hicks, Vice President of Operations for Alaska West Express.

Whittier Storm 2012
Conditions at the Alaska Railroad Corp. yard in Whittier, AK.

Compounding problems was a cycle of storms which hampered barge arrivals off and on since October. The Whittier terminal has been dealt further blows by storms which bring heavy snow, then melting conditions. The cold temperatures cause train wheels to freeze onto the tracks and make rail, truck and forklift operations very difficult. “We have experienced crippling conditions for rail and cargo operations,” Scott explains. Excessive ice buildup throughout the terminal shut down all rail movement in or out of Whittier for days. Avalanches caused train delays extending the time required for loading and unloading our barges, and tug crews have battled through storms, rough seas and lengthy voyages. 

snowy trains

“Our crew in Whittier has worked very hard to keep the freight, trains, trucks and barges moving,” Scott says. “They have worked almost every weekend since the first part of November. This includes our drivers shuttling and trucking loads on the weekends to take care of the priority freight for customers. Anchorage yard crews have also worked around the clock to unload trains and keep the trains and trucks moving. Fairbanks crews have battled temperatures as low as minus-60 degrees.”

snowy train

The Nana Provider has been cycled in as a fourth rail barge which has helped maintain weekly service.  “We have received help from multiple Lynden companies and I would like to thank them,” Scott says. “Our partners Western Towboat and the Alaska Railroad also deserve much credit for helping us ‘weather the storm.’” Lynden employees have done an outstanding job through this very difficult time with manpower and schedule changes. It truly is a team effort and a great example of what Lynden is capable of.”

In Washington, winter storms also brought freezing rain, heavy snow and extended road closures on Snoqualmie Pass due to avalanches. The governor declared a state of emergency and waived the hours of service limits for drivers hauling milk from farms to processing plants.

“Our Sunnyside and Moses Lake Milky Way drivers did an extraordinary job given the challenges they faced. They received help from the Portland, Chehalis, Skagit, Whatcom and Seattle services centers to deliver loads and keep our customers from having to dump milk,” says LTI, Inc. President Brad Williamson. Dispatchers met twice a day via teleconference and worked around the clock coordinating with the milk plants. It was an outstanding display of teamwork throughout the organization.”

As a side-note, LTI, Inc. delivered a record amount of road de-icer salt this winter to the Washington Department of Transportation and the City of Seattle. During January, LTI, Inc. trucks moved 30,771 tons of bulk salt from stockpiles at Seattle and Moses Lake to maintenance sites around the state.

* Note: This article was originally written in mid-March, 2012.

Tags: LTI Inc., Alaska West Express, Winter conditions, Alaska Railroad, Alaska shipping, Alaska, WSDOT

Lynden ranked the #7 top business in Alaska by Alaska Business Monthly

Posted on Fri, Oct 07, 2011

Top 49ers - Alaska Business Monthly Alaska Business Monthly magazine ranked Lynden Inc. #7 among Alaskan-owned and operated companies. Lynden provides 700 jobs in Alaska and almost 2,200 jobs worldwide.

“These Top 49er companies show strength and power,” said Jim Martin, president and general manager of Alaska Business Monthly. “They are our Superheroes of Success. I have studied these companies for years and am amazed by their flexibility, growth and wisdom."

You can read more in Alaska Business Monthly's report (PDF) on the Top 49 Alaskan-owned and operated companies.

Tags: Lynden, Alaska Business Monthly, Alaska shipping, Alaska, top Alaskan companies

"Exploring the Alaska-Washington Connection" hits home for Lynden

Posted on Fri, Aug 26, 2011

Alaska-Washington ConnectionPetroleum Newspapers of Alaska, based in Anchorage, Alaska, recently released "Exploring the Alaska-Washington Connection 2011", the most recent edition of their annual publication.

As a multi-modal transportation company pioneering the way between Washington and Alaska for over 50 years, Lynden’s name shows up throughout the magazine. We are proud to serve our customers and communities in Alaska, Washington, and throughout the world.

 


You can read more about Lynden's activities on the following pages of the magazine:

Page 6: Mining activity is also an important lifeline for numerous Alaska and Washington transportation companies, like Lynden Inc.

Page 18: Lynden, for example, provides trucking services for Capstone Mining Corp.’s Minto Mine in west-central Yukon Territory.

Page 28: The U.S. Department of Energy is introducing wind energy to the nation’s small communities...an effort that Lynden is supporting with an offer to transport wind turbines and towers to 14 communities in Alaska.

Page 36: Alaska Airlines, Lynden Inc. and other businesses have taken numerous steps in recent years to reduce their environmental footprints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: Alaska-Washington Connection, Lynden, trucking to Alaska, Alaska shipping, Alcan Highway, Lynden History, Alaska, shipping to Alaska

"Choosing the right freight shipping company"

Posted on Thu, Sep 03, 2009

I recently came across an article titled "Avoid Inconveniences By Choosing The Right Freight Shipping Company", written by Amy Nutt. The article provides a good list of what you should look for in a reliable shipping company (like Lynden).  =-)

Here is a quick list of the important points. If you'd like to learn more, you can read the full article.

  •  Choose a company that can help you balance delivery speed and cost. A shipper that can offer you the choice to ship by truck, ship by barge, or ship by plane can give you better cost/speed options.
  • Check on a company's track record. Have they been around for a while (valuable experience)? What do their customers say about them? How helpful are their employees when you contact them?
  • If you are shipping internationally, ensure that the company has experience and knowledge of the different laws and guidelines that exist abroad.
The article also mentions shopping around for the best price. I would add that you should understand what the real cost of shipping is - it's not just the rate you are quoted. A lower price is not helpful if your freight arrives late or damaged. If the shipper is unreliable, how much time will you have to spend checking-up on your freight? Is the shipper experienced? If so, they likely can help provide advice on how to better or more cheaply ship your freight.

Any tips you would like to add? Leave a comment below!

Tags: Lynden International, Alaska Marine Lines, shipping, shipping in Alaska, Alaska shipping, Lynden Transport, shipping to Alaska

Lynden featured on Mythbusters!

Posted on Thu, Aug 06, 2009

Fans of the popular Discovery Channel show Mythbusters may have caught a glimpse of Lynden Transport trucks being used during the Alaska Week special this past April. One myth the Mythbusters explored was whether a boat constructed of pykrete - water and newspapers mixed together and frozen - could actually be built. Two Lynden Transport refrigerated trucks were barged up from Seattle and used to transport the frozen pykrete boat.

Be sure to look for the Lynden Transport trucks at 0:43 and 2:38!

 

Tags: Mythbusters, Refrigerated Trucks, Discovery Channel, shipping in Alaska, Alaska shipping, Lynden Transport

Watch an Alaska Marine Lines ARM barge being unloaded.

Posted on Tue, Jul 21, 2009

A video was recently posted to YouTube showing one of Alaska Marine Lines' ARM barges being unloaded in Whittier, Alaska. The machinery they use and the unloading process is fascinating, check it out:

 

AML has webcams set up for their docks and barge operations in Seattle and throughout Alaska. If you thought the ARM barge video was interesting, take a look: Alaska Marine Lines webcams

Tags: Alaska Marine Lines, ARM barge, Alaska shipping, Alaska

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