This oversized process module was on its way to an oilfield at Prudhoe Bay via Alaska West Express. The trip required crossing the Chatanika River Bridge on the Elliott Highway. "This is when our variety of equipment really pays off for our customers," explains John Binder, Alaska West Express Safety Specialist in Fairbanks. "The Scheuerle trailer allows us to raise and lower loads to clear just about any obstacle we might encounter." It was a smooth trip across the bridge and the mod arrived on time. Oversized loads like this require weeks and sometimes months of advance planning with the Alaska West Express team securing permits, insurance and additional personnel and pilot cars. "Dealing with unusual and heavy loads is our specialty," John says.
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Lynden International chartered two Antonov aircraft to ship fragile tube bundles from Houston to the Kingdom of Bahrain, located just off the eastern coastline of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf. Bahrain is a small archipelago of 33 islands and is seeing a resurgence in oil and gas activity.
According to Lynden International District Manager Diana Martinez, "We began working on this proposal a year ago." Lynden was selected for the job and began the complicated move by picking up eight tube bundles in Beasley, TX and bringing them to the Lynden warehouse for crating.
They were then moved to the airport for loading on the two chartered Antonov AN-124s. Each plane carried four tube bundles, each weighing 50,500 pounds and measuring 44 feet by 13 feet by 5 feet. Total aircraft weight: 202,000 pounds. "The tube bundles are used for heat exchangers and they are extremely fragile. The thin tubing on the inner structure is easily bent," Diana explains. With Lynden's careful handling, the bundles were delivered on time and in perfect condition.
Parts of a vintage 727 jetliner were strapped to an Alaska West Express trailer at the Future of Flight Museum in Everett and hauled to a hangar at Columbia Pacific Aviation in Moses Lake, WA. The noteworthy move was covered by Seattle's KING–5 TV and Alaska West Express Driver Tom Lardie was featured on that night's newscast. The museum closed after 13 years and all the planes were taken down from the ceiling and hauled to new homes at other museums or moved into storage. "Dispatcher Roger VanMeter set this move up and knocked it out of the park," says Tacoma Service Center Manager Neil Cranford. "His planning and communication with the customer and driver insured that this freight moved without any damage or issues. It should also be noted that our driver, Tom Lardie, handled the move with the utmost professionalism. Having experienced drivers like Tom makes hauling oversize freight such as this possible." The fuselage was part of the original team plane for the Vancouver Canucks hockey team. According to Tom, it drew quite a bit of attention rolling down Interstate 90 from Western to Eastern Washington.
It's been a busy summer for Alaska Marine Lines' Dutch Harbor Service Center. The team recently handled the transport of a 60-ton rotor for Westward Seafoods, welcomed the 100th vessel of the season and moved into a new shop facility.
"Alaska Marine Lines moved the rotor from Seattle to Dutch Harbor to replace a failing unit in Westward's plant," says Tyler Riley, Dutch Harbor Service Center Manager. "We used two cranes to lift it off our barge which came in dockside to the Westward plant. The delivery went off without a hitch and we had one extremely happy customer."
Dutch Harbor serves as the hub for Western Alaska ports, transferring equipment and cargo as needed between Naknek, Dillingham, Bethel, Nome and Kotzebue. "We have many weeks where barges are back to back and we are working two vessels simultaneously," Tyler explains. "We move seafood daily from shoreside customer seafood plants Westward Seafoods and Alyeska Seafoods. On average we receive between 10,000 to 20,000 gallons of fish oil and around eight loads of frozen fish daily from the plants during the busy parts of A and B seasons. We also have several fishing vessels that come to Dutch after catching and processing a full load of fish. They offload frozen product into our containers going to Seattle and backload packaging supplies for another trip to the fishing grounds."
In addition to the daily plant trucking and vessel offload activities, Dutch Harbor provides shuttle barge service for several outports. "During A season we service Saint Paul Island for the opilio (snow) crab season, Sand Point and Beaver Inlet for pollock. During B season we continue the shuttle barges to Sand Point and Beaver Inlet, and add service to Alitak, Chignik, and Port Moller for pollock and/or salmon," Tyler explains.
Last year, AML doubled its capacity in Dutch Harbor with a yard expansion of almost four acres and a second barge ramp system for cargo transfer operations. This year's improvements include a new shop and office built closer to the dock and yard. The mechanics now have a flat concrete floor to work on equipment under a roof out of the elements with a stronger connection between the office and the yard operations. The upgraded shop is constructed of 17 40-foot containers recycled from Alaska Marine Lines' Seattle yard. "They fit together like Lego pieces," explains Rob Jones, Assistant Service Center Manager. "John Maketa and Gordy Lindblad did the welding and built a tent roof for the shop. The containers, including some insulated reefers, were phased out of service so it was a great idea to use them to create our new facility."
A massive D-10 was seen rolling into Fairbanks this summer atop an Alaska West Express lowboy. The Fort Knox Mine donated the 115,000-pound bulldozer to the University of Alaska for use in its diesel technician program, but the machine needed a lift from the mine to the university's diesel shop. Oversized loads are business as usual for Alaska West Express, so the company stepped in to help.
"Fort Knox has been hiring most employees from out of the state due to their experience with mining machinery," explains Brian Rencher, program director at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. "They approached us about donating a large piece of equipment to the university to familiarize our students with it and better prepare them for mining jobs here in the Fairbanks area. The good folks at Alaska West Express donated the transportation and the crew did an excellent job. The pilot cars and truck driver Brian Maiorano were organized and planned traffic perfectly to get the truck and trailer into our parking area with the large machine."
The dozer was first delivered to the Carlson Center in Fairbanks for a Chamber of Commerce display and was then transported to the university's deisel shop. "We fully support the university and its programs and are glad to help whenever we can," said Scott Hicks, Alaska West Express president.
Delays in super-load permits and customs paperwork created some nail-biting moments for Lynden employees who were charged with transporting a 120,000-pound load from Calgary to Anchorage and on to Ninilchik near Kenai. The compressor was not only heavy, its 30-foot by 14-foot by 12-foot high stature required special paperwork for a ship sailing and truck transport – and the customer needed it right away.
“We brought the compressor from Canada to Seattle to make a Friday ship sailing to Alaska. In addition, five support loads, including three oversized, had to be transported via truck and on site to beat the compressor delivery,” explains Jacob Harrison, Account Executive with Lynden Transport in Anchorage.
Another challenge came with delayed customs paperwork. “By the time we received it, it was too late for Keith Hall at Lynden International to clear the shipment, so we were pushed back a day. Keep in mind, this unit needed to move as soon as possible to make the sailing cutoff time,” Jacob explains.
Lynden Transport Fife’s Neil Cranford was at the ship transfer site when the compressor arrived. When it was lifted via crane, one of the picking points began to bend under the stress of the weight. Neil found an alternative connection and the crane operator successfully transferred the unit to Lynden’s “Dakota” trailer which the Anchorage operations team had previously moved to Seattle.
“Drivers Ron Calkins and Anthony Brocato worked against the clock to make sure the unit was lashed correctly and moved to the ship safely,” Neil explains. “If not for their professionalism on site, this unit would not have made it through the stringent flatbed tying requirements.”
The compressor finally arrived in Anchorage and was transported to Ninilchik by Alaska West Express Driver Brian Ambrose. “Larry Kohlmaier, Cale Larson and Myles Hursley of Canadian Lynden Transport were key in the planning and execution of this move,” Jacob says. “With the contributions of Neil, Keith, Eric Wilson, Mark Graves and Justus Uphus of Lynden Transport, we made the customer’s deadline and secured future business.”
These windmill blades, measuring 148 feet long, recently rode Alaska Marine Lines’ railbarge Fairbanks Provider from Seattle to Whittier. The customer has also chartered the Nana Provider barge to move the remaining blades to a wind farm project in remote Healy, Alaska. The blades will be used in turbine towers at the Eva Creek Wind Project.
Lynden International Business Development Manager Ken Davis is fond of telling customers “Never walk away from a project. There is always someone that can help.” That someone is usually Lynden. Ken and Sheila Culwell at the Boston office and LaDonna Blackwell in Houston stepped in to help an Iowa manufacturer with an oversized international shipment.
"They had gone to other transportation companies and they just couldn’t produce the results,” Ken says. The customer needed to move a huge mold to their plant in China from the Iowa facility. “With our experience moving oil equipment of odd sizes I knew we had the knowledge and contacts to get the job done,” Ken explains. “The crate was 132-feet-long and weighed 20,000 pounds. That meant a special flatbed trailer with permits and routes mapped out. That is not something that you normally drive through a city!”
Ken and LaDonna mapped out the route, picked up the shipment in Iowa and trucked it to the Port of Houston where it was loaded onto a breakbulk carrier into Taicang, China. The ship sailed in April and the mold arrived in Shanghai in May.
Lynden International Account Executive Nanci Ruese and International Manager Colleen Fort averted a crisis for a mining customer last year when a scheduled flight to move oversized magnetic separators from Birmingham, U.K. to Vancouver, B.C. stalled. The flight was overbooked and suddenly there was no space available to the shipper.
“Three huge drums needed to go to a manufacturing plant in Vancouver for customization and then on to the mine in Platinum, AK,” explains Colleen. “The mine was shut down waiting for these parts.” Nanci and Colleen “beat the bushes” to find another flight and the drums were soon on their way to Seattle. “Talk about heavy,” Nanci says of the 81,000-pound load, “even the forklifts were complaining!”
From Seattle, the drums moved to B.C. via truck and on to the mine in Alaska after customization. “We actually feel our clients’ pain in these situations,” says Colleen. “Forwarders can step in and protect shippers’ interests, and we were happy to do so in this case.”
Photo: Lynden International Account Executive Nanci Ruese is dwarfed by the crate containing 81,000 pound magnetic separators bound for a mine in Alaska.
Lynden International pulled together a last-minute charter move of oversized scanners for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) late last year. The scanners, weighing a total of 17,000 pounds, were needed at the Honolulu Airport immediately to replace malfunctioning machines used for scanning passenger luggage for explosives.
“They were down to just one machine to scan passenger luggage for explosives at a very busy airport,” explains Juancarlos Cruz, District Manager at the Puerto Rico office. The Lynden team chartered a flight from San Juan to Los Angeles, handled all the rigging and packing, and set up another direct flight on a freighter into the Honolulu Airport. “It was a very complex move, but we knew it was a matter of public safety to get the machines to Honolulu as quickly as possible,” explains Juancarlos Cruz, Puerto Rico District Manager. “Our team in San Juan with the help of Daniel Gotham in Houston and Roberta McClelland in Seattle pulled together to get it done”.
In another high-profile move, the Orlando and Newark offices handled the delivery of microphones and other audio equipment for use at the General Assembly of the United Nations Meeting at New York’s Warwick Hotel. Orlando Manager Danny LaVallee received a thank-you letter from customer ProLingo for Lynden’s outstanding service despite multiple last-minute schedule changes, Secret Service screenings and heavy security. “These events require time-sensitive deliveries, as well as good communication. All venues have heavy security and this meeting required several delivery time changes,” LaVallee explains. By keeping in contact between the Orlando and New Jersey offices, Lynden made all deliveries on time. “These deliveries were not easy, especially in a busy city like New York during UN week,” writes ProLingo Shipping Manager Julie Youmans. “Lynden made it seem effortless.”