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Alaska Marine Lines celebrates 40 years

Posted on Wed, Jul 15, 2020

Alaska Marine Lines celebrates 40 yearsAlaska Marine Lines celebrates its 40th anniversary this year! That is 40 years we've been privileged to serve our amazing customers and local communities, 40 years side-by-side with the most wonderful, hard-working people in the barge industry and 40 years of experience fine tuning our service and reach to offer the largest fleet of equipment in Alaska.

In 1980, Lynden acquired the assets of Southeast Barge Lines from Western Towboat, Trucano Construction and Jim Harper and Southeast Alaska Barge Lines was established. "This began the long and productive partnership between Lynden and Western Towboat that we still enjoy today," explains Alaska Marine Lines President Kevin Anderson.

Two years later, Southeast Alaska Barge Lines was renamed Alaska Marine Lines. In 1985, as Foss Alaska Lines withdrew from Southeast service and Pacific Western Lines curtailed its service, Alaska Marine Lines purchased selected assets from those barge carriers and added many employees who are still with the Lynden companies today including Executive Vice President Alex McKallor. Also that year, service partner Arrowhead Transfer headed by Gordie Harang began providing services to Alaska Marine Lines in Southeast Alaska.

Alaska Marine Lines Presidents over the yearsPictured to the right, Alaska Marine Lines Presidents over the years include, from left: Bill Troy, Alex McKallor, Gail Knapp and current President Kevin Anderson.

Looking back, Kevin says some of the biggest changes have been in equipment. "We've gone from 20' containers to 40's, then 48's and now 53's, and forklifts with a capacity of 55,000 pounds that can now lift 120,000 pounds," he says. "The first barge was 130 feet long with a 1,000-HP tug. Today we have 420-foot barges towed by tugs with 5,000-HP."

In 2019, Alaska Marine Lines expanded its service area to include Arctic villages like Kaktovik to better serve customers statewide and this year has expanded its fleet with the purchase of two cargo barges.

"As we celebrate four decades of business I'd like to honor the dedicated and talented employees, past and present, who have contributed to our success," Kevin says. "We now service every major coastal region in Alaska. I look forward to seeing what the new decade will bring."

Tags: Ocean, AML

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: Green Lynden, Seafood, Lynden Employees, Alaska, Grocery Chill and Frozen, Temperature-Controlled, Ocean, AML

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: Hawaii, Ocean, AML

Lynden employees help deliver medical supplies to Lebanon

Posted on Fri, Jun 05, 2020

PortEarlier this year Lynden Logistics' 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 Logistics, Ocean, International

Hydroelectric project will move Kake off diesel power

Posted on Thu, Feb 13, 2020

Kake Pipestock projectConstruction is under way for a new hydropower facility in Kake, AK and Alaska Marine Lines is supporting the project by transporting penstock pipe and other materials. Local electrical utility Inside Passage Electric Cooperative (IPEC) is building the facility at an old hatchery near town. The plant will allow the community of 630 people to move from diesel power and generators to a cheaper, cleaner and more efficient power source. It's estimated that the new plant will save 2 million pounds of CO2 per year. According to Arrowhead Transfer Operations Manager Adam Davis, the first shipment of pipe was delivered last summer, but the project has been in the works for more than a year. "We started working on the project in 2018 with contractor Rock N Road," he says. "We've already handled 60 loads of concrete and aggregate weighing between 20,000 to 66,000 pounds each to build pillars, thrust block and other features." Many of the deliveries tested Adam's driving skills as they required backing a fully loaded 40-foot trailer down a long, one-lane driveway. The trailer was too wide for the narrow bridge so the excavator was used to unload the pipe at the job site.

IPEC is scheduled to finish the $10 million project this year. Pictured above, 54-inch penstock pipe is stacked for delivery at the Alaska Marine Lines yard in Kake.

Tags: Alaska, Energy, Oversized/Heavy Haul, Project Logistics, Ocean, AML

Puerto Rico expansion and new Jacksonville location helps businesses rebuild

Posted on Fri, Jul 26, 2019

Lynden Logistics Puerto Rico FacilityLynden Logistics is supporting Puerto Rico businesses as they continue to rebuild and recover from the effects of Hurricane Maria. In March, Lynden doubled its San Juan warehouse facility to 40,000 square feet. “Our warehouse expansion, long-term presence on the island and our varied capabilities have come into play for moving construction materials for rebuilds. We now have even more room for consolidating and warehousing building materials and retail merchandise,” says Lynden Logistics Regional Vice President Frank Butler.

Jacksonville, Florida serves as the major gateway to San Juan. "While we have been successful loading our Less-than-Container-Load (LCL) boxes to San Juan in both Nashville and Atlanta over the years, many opportunities have eluded us as some customers need to send and receive merchandise at the Jacksonville port," says Butler.

Lynden now has the ability to assemble, receive and load LCL freight (and Full Container Load if needed) in Jacksonville for containers heading southbound. Lynden's Nashville and Atlanta loading operations were relocated to Jacksonville to create a single source location for LCL operations. The new location is considered a gateway and is managed by Regional Operations Manager Todd Browner. "This change allows us to reduce costs and increase capacity within our containers," Todd says. "We are excited about the possibilities."

Many Lynden customers suffered hurricane damage to retail stores and facilities and were forced to close them in 2018. This year, many stores are open for business once again. “Lynden has assisted with the planning, rebuilding process, the grand openings and is now supporting the stores on a daily basis,” Butler says. The Lynden team picks up ocean containers each week dockside and delivers them to the San Juan warehouse for consolidation, scanning and sorting for stores on the island. Merchandise is held and delivered to stores on an ‘as-needed’ basis, providing a steady stream of replenishment as goods are sold. “We have also taken on new projects to rebuild the electrical grid on the island, update Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) towers and equipment and other government endeavors to repair infrastructure after the hurricane,” says Butler. “We are committed to getting our customers back on their feet.”

Tags: Puerto Rico, Lynden Logistics, United States, Ocean, Construction, 3PL

Lynden ships equipment to support Guatemalan firefighters

Posted on Tue, Mar 05, 2019

Guatemala firefighters"As I told you when we met, we're probably going to ask a bit more of you than your typical client does, but it will be about things we can do together to help firefighters all over the world," says Deputy Chief Jon Ibrahim of Hearts In Motion and Fire Service International, nonprofits based in Indiana. Lynden Account Executive Ollie Ladd and Ocean Operations Manager Dave McGeath worked with Jon to coordinate the move of a 20-foot container filled with donated firefighting equipment from Hearts In Motion to the San Francisco dock for ocean shipment to Guatemala City. The equipment was bound for some of the world's poorest firefighters in Central America as they combat the aftermath of the eruption of the Fuego Volcano this winter.

Hearts In Motion has been providing firefighting assistance and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to Guatemala for 35 years as well as Nicaragua, Ecuador and other parts of Central and South America. Ollie, Dave and the Lynden team pulled the Guatemala move together in just one week, working against last-minute deadlines and changing requirements. "When you consider that these donations were sitting in a warehouse and within a week they were loaded into a container and on the sea, it really speaks to Lynden's capabilities, and how employees bent over backwards to help us out, not just with the logistics, but also the communication and walking us through the process," Jon says. "We are going to have a long-term relationship with Lynden because of the personal touch of everyone involved. When I was there it felt less like a business meeting and more like I was just having lunch with a Chicago buddy."

"It is rewarding to know that we had a hand in sending relief to the people of Guatemala who are struggling with the aftermath of the volcano," Ollie says. "Jon tells us the shipment made a huge difference in the lives of the firefighters in Guatemala and El Salvador who can now do their jobs safely and more effectively."

Tags: Disaster Relief, Lynden Logistics, Ocean, Community, International

Plane floats home after emergency landing

Posted on Tue, Nov 20, 2018

Airplane Shipment, Etolin IslandLynden is known for responding to emergencies. In a recent case, a pilot made an emergency landing on Etolin Island, AK with no landing strip and a windshield covered with oil. The pilot radioed for help and was flown to Ketchikan for medical assistance, leaving the damaged plane behind. A few days later a helicopter arrived, lashed it onto the skids and flew it to the Wrangell Airport where it was dismantled and loaded onto an Alaska Marine Lines flat.

Driver Doug Schwartz worked with the plane's owners to get it to the port for shipment on an Alaska Marine Lines barge going to Juneau. The customers were extremely appreciative of Doug's help with the unusual move and wrote in their feedback card, "Thank you, Doug, for your expertise and quick service. You were invaluable. We hope to never have to ship an airplane again!"

Tags: Alaska, Oversized/Heavy Haul, Ocean, AML

Alaska Marine Lines expands Western Alaska service to Arctic ports

Posted on Mon, Nov 19, 2018

Alaska Marine LinesAlaska Marine Lines, an Alaska marine transportation company, is expanding its service from Seattle and Anchorage to the Arctic Region in 2019. Bowhead Transport will provide the destination services at the North Slope villages of Point Hope, Point Lay, Wainwright, Utqiagvik (Barrow), and Kaktovik. Alaska Marine Lines will also service Deadhorse with its two annual sealifts. Bowhead, thru its teaming agreement with Alaska Marine Lines, will continue to participate in the door-to-shore service to the Arctic that it initiated over 30 years ago.

The new stops will be added to Alaska Marine Lines’ many ports of call, joining the major hubs of Naknek, Dillingham, Nome, Bethel and Kotzebue and more than 65 villages along the coast of Western Alaska.

“Adding these new locations allows us to meet our goal of serving the entire state of Alaska, from Ketchikan to Kaktovik. From April to October each year we bring essential supplies to local villages in Western Alaska and provide critical support to the seafood industry,” says Alaska Marine Lines President Kevin Anderson. “Bowhead Transport has been serving Alaska for decades and we are proud to team with them to continue to provide the excellent service their customers depend on.”

For more information or to book a shipment, contact Alaska Marine Lines at 800-426-3113 or westernakcs@lynden.com.

Tags: Alaska, Ocean, AML

New ocean shipping options to Hawaii and Guam

Posted on Wed, Sep 05, 2018

Lynden Logistics has served the Hawaiian Islands for more than 30 years and provided service to Guam for more than 20 years. For 2018, Lynden has enhanced its customer offerings in both locations by adding Less-than-Container-Load (LCL) ocean service between Los Angeles and Guam and LCL barge service between Seattle and Honolulu via Aloha Marine Lines.

"The new service provides a lower-cost alternative to traditional steamship line service," explains Charlie Ogle, Western Regional Sales Manager. "We offer twice monthly sailings to Oahu with connections to the neighboring islands." With this added service Lynden continues to offer our full menu of value-added capabilities like EZ Commerce, multimodal shipping options, Dynamic Routing, time-specific deliveries, and warehousing. To find out more about our services, please visit our website www.lynden.com/logistics or email lafmtg@lynden.com.

Tags: Hawaii, Lynden Logistics, Ocean, AML