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Rhubarb juice and oat milk new hauls for LTI, Inc.

Posted on Mon, Nov 01, 2021

My Post - 2021-10-27T100759.570Rhubarb juice and oat milk have joined canola oil and whiskey in LTI, Inc.'s growing list of special commodity hauls. Since March, LTI, Inc. Sunnyside drivers have picked up oat milk from Ogden, UT and delivered it to Delta, B.C. for Oatly. "The Oatly brand is international, available at retail stores and is used at Starbucks locations across the U.S.," explains Marcos Bustamante, Sunnyside Operations Manager.

Around 35 miles away, in Abbotsford, B.C., LTI, Inc. drivers are on the job picking up rhubarb juice for delivery to a winery in Hill City, South Dakota. "International projects like this require collaboration between Sunnyside and LTI, Inc.'s Mount Vernon group to deliver the products across the border," says Greg Masset, Sunnyside Dispatch. Drivers Chad Haarsma and Jonathon Harshfield haul the juice from the plant in Canada to Sunnyside, where Jerome-based team drivers pick it up and deliver to the winery in South Dakota.

Drivers sometimes deal with unplanned same-day load add-ons, but "luckily, we have great drivers that always come through for us and understand how important it is to take care of our customers," Marcos says. "Our success wouldn't be possible without the help of all the other Service Centers and our great drivers. I especially want to thank the Sunnyside dispatch team and special commodities team for the great job they have been doing."

Marcos says LTI, Inc. is always looking for other food-grade products to carry. "Our canola oil business has grown with the addition of a new customer called Viterra that has led to Sunnyside investing in special trailers dedicated to hauling oil," he says.

Drivers supporting the oat milk project include: Guadalupe Bustamante, Brandon Call, Pablo Valdes-Medina, Jose Rivera, Mark Nickerson, Jose Gonzalez Vargas and Scott Scherzinger.

Tags: LTI Inc., Bulk, Specialized

LTI, Inc. moves from Bonanza to Klamath Falls

Posted on Tue, Mar 16, 2021

LTI, Inc. Klamath Falls locationFor the past 15 years, LTI, Inc. drivers would head out to local dairies in Bonanza, OR to pick up milk for their customer. But the arrangement changed last year which allowed drivers to take on other projects and serve new customers. LTI, Inc. Vice President of Operations Chae Matta and Regional Manager Greg Tolle immediately started looking for options for the 24-man crew to continue working in the area.

"Unfortunately, our office and yard in Bonanza were more than 50 miles out of route for Lynden's California work, so we found a new 3.5-acre location just south of downtown Klamath Falls," explains Operations Manager John Bailey. "The new location on Highway 97 puts us right in line with the current routes, so it offers new opportunities for the Klamath Falls team."

By late fall, the mobile office, a shed, carport and other equipment were moved from Bonanza to the new space. "It was an all-day process to get everything set in place so we could resume business as usual," says John, "I really appreciate Chae and Greg creating this new opportunity for our team. I see nothing but growth in the future." Employees that came in on a day off to help included Brent Hadwick, Clint Shultz, Hank Walling, Joe Hicks, Sutherlin Driver Supervisor Patrick Murphy and McMinnville Mechanic Terry McCord.

Tags: LTI Inc., Drivers, Bulk, Truckload

LTI, Inc. hauls world-famous Woodinville Whiskey

Posted on Wed, Feb 10, 2021

LTI, Inc. equipmentAdd award-winning whiskey to the long list of LTI, Inc.'s food-grade hauls. Woodinville Whiskey Co. recently called upon Lynden to haul its premium 140-proof whiskey from Woodinville, WA to its aging and bottling facility in Quincy, WA. LTI, Inc. drivers are also picking up the mash byproduct from the whiskey distilling process and delivering to a farm near Monroe, WA.

Because the whiskey is flammable, it qualifies as a hazmat, food-grade load which is one of LTI, Inc.'s specialties. "The project really is a good fit for our strengths as a carrier," says Business Development Manager Al Hartgraves. Al says the new project came about through company teamwork. While LTI, Inc. Driver Cesar Cortez was delivering a load to one of the wineries next door to Woodinville Whiskey, he was approached by one of the owners. He asked Cesar if LTI, Inc. could provide the same pickup and delivery service for his company to Eastern Washington. Cesar passed along the request to dispatcher Eric Bordynoski who got in touch with Al and soon a contract was under way.

"LTI, Inc. has never hauled whiskey before so specific equipment needed to be sourced and drivers trained for this type of hazmat transport," Al says. The maintenance team of Dave Seaman and Jerry Crisp jumped into action to secure the highly specialized food-grade hazmat trailers, DOT 407s, needed for the project. Although the whiskey is picked up in Woodinville and delivered to Quincy, the run begins and ends at LTI, Inc.'s Sunnyside facility due to the wash facilities located there.

LTI, Inc. equipmentSunnyside Driver Brandon Weaver, pictured right, was the first driver to haul the whiskey this fall, and he says it is a nice change from his usual route. "It's a lot of responsibility, too, though. Hazmat loads require an endorsement and intense focus, so safety is always on my mind." Driver Ed Flores is also hauling whiskey for the project.

The second part of the project is hauling the spent mash, which is grain left over from the distillation process. A full load is picked up each day from the distillery and delivered to a farm facility near Monroe where it is used to produce electricity for Qualco Energy. "The whole process is full circle and something we have not been involved in before," Al says. "It's an exciting new project for us to fully support the efforts of Woodinville Whiskey, and we will be bringing on more qualified drivers with this type of hazmat endorsement early in the year."

The grain for the whiskey is grown in Quincy which is where the whiskey is returned to age five to seven years before bottling. Woodinville Whiskey's expansion has positioned them to produce over 250,000 cases per year.

Tags: LTI Inc., United States, Bulk, Hazmat, Truckload

LTI, Inc. Sunnyside crew receives national certification for tanker cleanliness

Posted on Tue, Feb 20, 2018

Members of the LTI, Inc. Wash Bay Crew in Sunnyside, WALTI, Inc.'s Sunnyside Wash Bay Crew received a prestigious certification from the Juice Products Association (JPA) for the cleanliness of the tankers Lynden uses for carrying food-grade products. The LTI, Inc. Sunnyside location is now one of only five wash facilities in Washington state to be certified by the JPA and one of only 39 in the U.S. The JPA is a national trade association with manufacturers representing more than 80 percent of U.S. juice producers. The Lynden team put in many hours of hard work to earn the designation.

"We face intense regulatory scrutiny in the way we clean and sterilize our special commodities tanks," says Jeff Harris, Sunnyside Operations Supervisor. "The JPA certification is the gold star of tanker cleanliness. Many companies will only allow their product to be hauled in tankers that have been washed at a JPA-certified facility. We can now proudly say that we are one of those facilities."

From January through November last year, the LTI, Inc. wash bay crew cleaned and sanitized 8,317 tanks in its wash bay plus 1,210 milk tankers. LTI, Inc. is required to carry paperwork for the last three loads each tanker has hauled which dictates the type of wash it receives: a rinse, a detergent rinse or a kosher wash that calls for temperatures up to 203 degrees for sterilization.

Each product a tanker hauls requires a specific type of wash. There is a lot to know, Jeff explains, and with trucks on the road around the clock, washing takes place at all hours. Harvest time is especially hectic for the team when almost all of the company's tankers are in use.

Jeff, along with HSSE Director Anthony Knapp and the wash bay crew, spent four months working on the certification process and producing an 18-chapter manual. The Sunnyside wash bay also had to be prepared for the audit which took many weeks of coordination and physical labor.

Jeff and Anthony consider the wash bay crew unsung heroes for the hard work they do every day. "I couldn't be prouder of Jeff and this team," Anthony says. "They are a multi-talented group of individuals with an outstanding work ethic and keep our equipment spotlessly clean to protect our customers and the public."

Tags: LTI Inc., Awards, Bulk, Ground

Winter weather challenges Lynden drivers

Posted on Tue, Mar 21, 2017

Moses Lake snow drift 2-213617-edited.jpg

Milky Way Driver Mike Jalomo calls it the winter that never ends. Another driver said, "I’ve thrown on more jewelry (truck chains) in the last month than most people put on in a lifetime."

Winter is never an easy season for the transportation industry, but some years are more challenging than others. "It feels like Mother Nature hasn’t backed down this year," says Kevin Greiner, Central Milk Dispatcher in Lynden, WA. From freezing rain and mountain pass closures to high winds and towering snow drifts, it’s been a tough few months for Lynden employees.

"We have seen close to 24 inches of snow at one time in Whatcom county this year but when the Northeast wind out of Canada blows 50-60 mph for a week straight, 2 inches of snow can drift up to 8 feet really quickly. At that point the county essentially shuts down," Kevin explains. "The only way we are able to get around is to put our own snowplow to work to open roads up."

To prepare for winter each year, LTI, Inc. incorporates winter driving awareness into monthly safety meetings starting in September. Everyone takes chain-up refresher classes – from brand new drivers with no mountain pass experience to 40-year veteran drivers. Coming to work prepared is heavily promoted in anticipation of the first snowfall.

"Mother Nature never sends us an email saying that a storm is headed our way," Kevin says. “We try to watch forecasts as much as possible but sometimes you go to bed and everything is normal only to wake up to the wind howling and the snow blowing sideways. Our LTI, Inc. team is made of professionals who understand that rain or shine, commodities still need to get there."

Driver safety is always a concern. If conditions warrant, two drivers will be sent out in one truck so the primary driver has a spotter and an extra set of hands. According to Kevin, "Our line of work is more than just getting in the truck and driving down the road. Local farm pickup drivers could be in and out of the truck 20 times during a shift so we really stress the importance of slowing down. Making smart decisions instead of knee jerk reactions when things get tough is what sets us apart from our competition."

Lynden is known for having some of the best drivers in the industry. "They are seasoned, know the local areas, and know exactly what to watch for when they are out in the field. We always tell new hires that this is a 24/7 company and the cows don’t care that it’s Christmas. As a company, we do a really good job of focusing on our critical customers and areas."

Mike Jalomo was stranded on the west side of Washington when both mountain passes closed. He laid over in Mount Vernon and went to work helping out Whatcom County drivers on their routes until he could make it back over to home base in Moses Lake. "I don’t think the average person realizes how much it takes to get the milk over the pass," he says. "We don’t have the luxury of sitting out a storm."

"Mike and so many others are all stars who have gone above and beyond this winter," Kevin says. "The LTI, Inc. office in Lynden, WA lost power in January for about six hours and several administrative employees were still here working. At the beginning of January, there was a record snowfall in Caldwell, ID and Jason Jansen and Bob Griggs both suited up in insulated coveralls and rode around with Milky Way’s Caldwell drivers helping chain up and navigate roads until 2 a.m."

"Our drivers and the team supporting them did the extraordinary, working safely through tough conditions and long hours to serve our customers," says Lynden CEO Jon Burdick. "I’m proud of their dedication and what they accomplished."

Tags: LTI Inc., Milky Way, Drivers, Bulk, Ground

LTI, Inc. receives third consecutive EPA SmartWay Excellence Award

Posted on Mon, Oct 19, 2015

SmartWay logoLTI, Inc. and its Milky Way division received a third consecutive SmartWay Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA awards recognize the top one percent of SmartWay partners for superior environmental performance and leadership. LTI, Inc. earned a top score in the Tanker Fleet Category based on its exceptional fuel economy, payload, idle time and modern emissions equipment.

"We are extremely proud to receive a third Excellence Award from the EPA. Our entire team deserves credit for maintaining our high standards of productivity, efficiency and environmental stewardship," says LTI, Inc. President Jason Jansen. "We will continue our efforts to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions while serving our customers."

Milky WayLTI, Inc. was one of 39 truck carriers to receive this distinction, representing the best environmental performers of SmartWay's nearly 3,000 Partners. The carrier awardees were honored at American Trucking Associations Annual Management Conference & Exhibition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania today.

"EPA is pleased to honor these SmartWay Partners with a 2015 Excellence Award," said Chris Grundler, Director, EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality. "SmartWay carriers work diligently to bring our families the goods we need each day, while contributing to a healthier, more sustainable future for our children."

LTI, Inc. specializes in the transport of liquid and dry bulk commodities, and its Milky Way division is a leading bulk milk hauler in the Pacific Northwest. The company uses the most efficient engines available, lightweight equipment with enhanced aerodynamics, automatic tire inflation systems and onboard computers to manage highway speed, progressive shifting, best routing options and idle times. Drivers are trained on these systems to better understand the impacts and effects while driving.

EPA's SmartWay Transport Partnership empowers businesses to move goods in the cleanest, most energy-efficient way possible, while protecting public health and reducing environmental impacts. Since 2004, SmartWay Partners have saved 144.3 million barrels of oil and $20.6 billion in fuel costs. SmartWay's clean air achievements (61.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, 1,070,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 43,000 tons of particulate matter emissions avoided) help to protect the well-being of citizens.

LTI, Inc./Milky Way became a SmartWay Transportation Partner in 2010. Sister company Lynden Transport became the first Alaska trucking company to join SmartWay in 2008, and Lynden companies Brown Line, LLC and Alaska West Express are also members.

Tags: LTI Inc., Green Lynden, Milky Way, Bulk

LTI, Inc. and Milky Way receive Excellence Award from EPA

Posted on Wed, Nov 27, 2013

Brad Williamson accepting the EPA awardLTI, Inc. and its Milky Way division joined a very short list of nationally recognized companies as a recipient of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2013 SmartWay Excellence Award. The company ranked in the top one percent of partners with superior environmental performance.

LTI, Inc. earned the top score among all the large tanker fleets in the U.S. based on its carrier performance for fuel economy, payload, idle time and emissions equipment. LTI, Inc. President Brad Williamson accepted the prestigious award at a ceremony in Denver (pictured) from Joann Jackson Stephens of the SmartWay Transport Partnership.

"I am extremely proud of this award and of our entire team. It is the greatest environmental achievement a trucking fleet can receive, and it validates our ongoing efforts to make our operation the most efficient it can be," Brad says.

The EPA award honors partners that move goods with the lowest levels of CO2 and other emissions. Fleet size and impact were also considered. Out of the 37 companies selected, LTI, Inc. was one of only two carriers receiving awards in the liquid- or dry-bulk commodities category. LTI, Inc. is now included as an industry leader on the Excellence Award List.

LTI, Inc./Milky Way became a SmartWay Transportation Partner in 2010. Sister company Lynden Transport became the first Alaska trucking company to join SmartWay in 2008, and Lynden companies Brown Line, LLC and Alaska West Express are also members.

LTI, Inc. and Milky Way were recognized as recipients of the Environmental Protection Agency Excellence Award.

Tags: LTI Inc., Awards, Green Lynden, Milky Way, Bulk, Ground

Vintage Milky Way tractor and tankers restored and on the road again

Posted on Tue, Sep 10, 2013

1950s Milky Way truck

Over the past six months, Guy Jansen has worked with Lynden Tank Company, Steven Blankenforth, Blue Star Welding, Maple Leaf Auto and the Lynden truck shop to restore an iconic Milky Way tractor and a set of double 2,800-gallon farm pickup milk tankers dating from the 1950's. The project was completed in time to join more than 700 antique trucks at the American Truck Historical Society Convention in Yakima, WA this spring.

"We plan to use #39 and its tankers #75B and #77B to support the agricultural communities in our service area by providing potable water and a hand-washing station at county fairs, FFA, 4-H, and similar events," said Milky Way President Brad Williamson. He encourages Lynden employees to think of otherways #39 can be used to support Lynden customers.

This 1956 single-ax Kenworth tractor and double single-axle tankers picked up milk at the Whatcom County dairy farms during the period when the industry was transitioning away from truck tanks to semi-trailers. Each single tanker picked up milk locally and was brought back to Lynden where they were trained up as a set of doubles and pulled through the Darigold plant in Lynden, WA to be topped off. They were then hooked to #39 to deliver full loads to Seattle area processors. Hub DeJong drove for Milky Way from 1949 to 1989 and spent many hours in the cab of #39. According to Guy, Hub and his family got a chance to see the restored rig and it brought back many fond memories.

 

Tags: Lynden, Lynden Tank Company, Milky Way, Bulk, Ground, Community

Milky Way begins milk pickup in Montana

Posted on Thu, Apr 19, 2012

Milky Way/LTI, Inc. began farm pickup operations for 32 Darigold farms in Montana on Jan. 1. The farms and newly hired drivers are located around Bozeman and Missoula. Some of the milk will be delivered to Darigold in Bozeman and some will be delivered a longer distance to Spokane, Jerome and Billings. “I would like to welcome Gear Lemon and Brandon Barnez back to the Lynden family of companies. These two men worked for Dairy Express in Montana in the 1990s,” says Brad Williamson, LTI, Inc. President.


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Tags: LTI Inc., Milky Way, United States, Bulk, Ground

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, Milky Way, Alaska, United States, Bulk, Ground