LTI, Inc. drivers in Caldwell and Jerome, ID answered the call this spring when the supermarket chain WinCo Foods was hit with an unprecedented demand for groceries due to the shelter-in-place orders. WinCo's daily freight volumes grew from 2.4 to 7 million pounds of grocery products. "We agreed to help and quickly sent out trucks and drivers to the Boise, ID distribution center," says LTI, Inc. Operations Manager Gordy Sant. "Within the same day Caldwell drivers were hauling 400,000 pounds of groceries to several WinCo locations." In all, LTI, Inc. drivers hauled 3.4 million pounds of freight to various Idaho communities during the rush period. Jerome drivers also hauled loads to Salt Lake City, Western Oregon or wherever products were needed. "Everyone at LTI, Inc. pulled together to cover shifts for these drivers so we could assist in this emergency situation," Gordy says. "We continue to haul groceries for WinCo as needed. This is a great example of how Lynden and its people can quickly diversify and an opportunity to show our strength in an area outside of the milk industry."
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Lynden Transport Driver James Delowsky (right) hauled a modular building from Edmonton to Kaktovik, AK to serve as a classroom for students after the school burned down in February. Kaktovik is a Native Alaskan Village along the Arctic Coast of the Beaufort Sea with a population of 250. The school and gym were the heart and hub of the community, according to JD Lavender, Branch Operations Leader for Willscot, Lynden's customer.
"The nearest school is 150 miles away so we need to get these buildings delivered as soon as possible," he says. "I have been impressed with the Lynden team and the drivers' attention to safety." Lynden moved 12 modules from Edmonton and 13 from Wasilla to Deadhorse. From there, they were transported to the remote village by Rolligons outfitted with special tires designed for the sensitive tundra.
Lynden employees are stepping forward to meet the needs of customers, keeping the freight moving as Lynden companies have always done during difficult times. Lynden has maintained regular business operations since the COVID-19 situation arose in late February with no disruption to global shipments or supply chains.
"The safety of our people and serving our customers are our priorities during these challenging times. We've been keeping freight moving to Alaska since 1954, and we're not planning to stop now," says Chairman Jim Jansen. "Lynden companies provide critical cargo services throughout Alaska and beyond and we are committed to delivering essential supplies and services to our customers and communities."
Lynden barges, trucks and planes deliver cargo to all points in Alaska including providing a supply lifeline to much of the state whose only surface supply line is Lynden and its dedicated people. "Our customers need our support to keep their businesses operating during this time and we are also supporting state and federal agencies. Keeping delivery routes open and supplies moving is our main focus and goal," explains Lynden President Jon Burdick. "We have dealt with earthquakes, oil spills, floods and other obstacles. This situation is no different."
According to Alaska Marine Trucking President Scott Hicks, employees are demonstrating the Lynden can-do attitude each day. "I have been so proud of our teams in Alaska," he says. "They are a shining example of the personal commitment required to keep businesses open and the economy moving. I know Lynden employees are doing the same in all locations."
Safety is one of Lynden's core values and many protocols have been implemented to ensure employees are operating in a safe and secure manner throughout all Lynden areas. Lynden's safety teams maintain active communication with local and federal agencies and comply with recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control.
"No transportation company in Alaska has a more essential and critical responsibility than we do," Jim says. "Without our service, many Alaskans would not have food and the other items essential to life. We can only meet their needs if our people are healthy, which is our No. 1 priority."
"As this situation unfolds, we are striving to offer a calm port in the storm by continuing to do our jobs as usual," Jon says. "Lynden has always responded in times of need and this is, unfortunately, one of those times. We are grateful for our dedicated employees who are dealing with additional challenges in their everyday work. They are the ones who allow us to serve our customers with minimal disruption."
LTI, Inc. drivers delivered 13 containers from Seattle to Ferndale, WA last month to assist the nonprofit Impossible Roads Foundation with a special Veterans Day project. The containers are retrofitted as homes for disabled veterans and will be distributed in the Whatcom County area.
"You guys truly are lifesavers," writes John Hope of the Impossible Roads Foundation. "We do not know how we could build and provide these tiny homes to veterans without the kindness and generosity of you delivering them to us."
Matson donated the 40-foot high-cube containers and LTI, Inc. contributed transportation to support the project. The containers are built specifically for the veterans' needs with ADA access. "We dubbed every tiny home we create 'The Impossible Tiny Home' because it is a small miracle that all of the materials, insight, design, labor, and personnel came together to build them," John says.
Investment in cutting-edge equipment and the skill of its driving teams has earned Brown Line a third consecutive SmartWay High Performer Award from the Environmental Protection Agency. For the past three years, Brown Line has been included in the minority – only 2 percent – of SmartWay carriers to receive this honor for all scoring metrics.
"Our team is very proud to receive this award for the third consecutive year," says Brown Line President Bill Johansen. "We continue to work hard to ensure we reduce carbon emissions by reducing idle time, sudden starts and stops and by using a new system called SmartDrive. This system allows our team to work together to improve driver safety and driving habits while reducing carbon emissions."
This year, Brown Line added 14 new fuel-efficient trucks to its fleet. Now 90 percent of its equipment is under five years old. New trailers arrived last month with electrical plug-ins allowing the refrigeration unit to turn off its generator to save on fuel and emissions. They will be tested with a new aerodynamic system in place of trailer tails that is designed to reduce the low pressure drag behind the trailer. The new system is expected to increase fuel economy and durability while reducing weight.
Brown Line also upgraded its refrigeration units with StarTrak, a system capable of sending alerts to dispatchers, drivers or shop personnel if any refrigeration unit is not maintaining the temperature set point. The temperature can also be adjusted remotely while a unit is enroute.
In the past five years, Brown Line has improved its fuel economy by nearly 40 percent and, in the past seven years, it has reduced its nitrous oxide and particulate matter emissions per ton mile by 44 percent and 62 percent respectively.
Brown Line was also voted Best Trucking and Logistics Company in the annual "Skagit's Best" contest. More than 41,000 people voted online to honor Skagit County's best businesses.
The quick response of new Alaska Marine Trucking Driver Andrew Lawson saved company equipment and prevented the loss of three new cars belonging to a customer. Alaska Marine Trucking delivers vehicles to an auto dealership in Juneau twice weekly, year-round, with a specialized car-hauling trailer. Andrew was on the road to the dealership when he heard a loud ‘BOOM!’ He saw flames in his rear view mirror, pulled over and saw the trailer was on fire. The brakes of the trailer overheated and the brake drum blew in a fiery explosion. This, in turn, caught the inside trailer tire on fire, destroying it.
Andrew grabbed the fire extinguisher from his truck and quickly put out the flames. After the incident, he inspected all the gear and freight involved, and called his dispatcher. Fortunately Andrew and the cargo being transported were unharmed. Dispatcher Carolyn Smith contacted the dealership, and Andrew was able to unload the cars safely to complete delivery to the customer. "Thanks to his quick thinking and actions, Andrew saved the customer's shipment and Alaska Marine Lines what might have been a total loss of our equipment. I would like to recognize him for using his safety training, quick thinking and fast actions to save a disaster from happening," Carolyn says.
Lynden’s specialized high-capacity equipment was one of the advantages Canadian Lynden Transport offered when the Supreme Group was looking for a company to haul structural steel beams from Alberta, Canada to Alaska. The Supreme Group is the largest privately-owned steel construction company in Canada with locations in Edmonton (Acheson), Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Vancouver and a U.S. location in Portland, OR. The company was awarded two U.S. military projects to supply the structural steel beams at Clear Air Force Station in Central Alaska and an airplane hangar at Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) in Fairbanks.
"Our equipment really sealed the deal as we can safely haul more weight," says Account Manager Sandra Darke. "We also have a mix of Canadian and U.S. drivers and, of course, Alaska is our turf and expertise. We have completed approximately 100 loads for the Clear project since September, including a few loads of nuts and bolts from suppliers in the Lower 48 up via QuickTrans." Materials for the hangar will require approximately 80 loads and construction should be completed by June. According to Sandra, the projects have presented several challenges.
"Our operations team has to communicate and coordinate with five different origin locations and we are required to spot trailers for loading in Saskatoon, Winnipeg and three locations in Edmonton," she says. "Our Edmonton team has done an amazing job keeping all the loads organized and meeting Supreme and the builder’s specific needs. The Lynden Transport team in Fairbanks has kept close contact with the builders to hold some loads and deliver as they need them."
Alaska West Express received the 2018 Alaska Safe Truck Fleet of the Year Award from the Alaska Trucking Association (ATA) at its annual meeting in April. Alaska West Express also received the award in 2016, 2014, and 2013. The carrier was recognized for its safety performance in 2018, including accident frequency rates, Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) scores and OSHA recordable injuries. Pictured to the right are members of ConocoPhillips, Alaska West Express and the ATA at the meeting.
The ATA sponsors this prestigious safety award with ConocoPhillips to recognize and reward carriers who operate safely on the highway and in the workplace. CSA is a major safety measurement and reporting initiative of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
"This award demonstrates the dedication and hard work of our entire team of transportation professionals," says Alaska West Express President Eric Badger. "Our drivers, maintenance personnel, operators, dispatchers, supervisors, managers and administrators all share in this success. Their efforts to continually identify safety improvements in our extremely challenging conditions is the cornerstone of our program. The safety of our people, the environment and our equipment is our most important objective each day."
"Alaska West Express clearly demonstrates to themselves, their management and the general public that the trucking industry can and does operate safely. Safety is our number one priority. ATA is proud that Alaska West Express is a member" said Aves Thompson, Executive Director of the Alaska Trucking Association.
Alaska West Express was also the Grand Award recipient for the National Tank Truck Carrier (NTTC) Competitive Safety Contest in the 7–12.5 million mile class. The award is based on best in class for the number of accidents, personnel injuries and actions the carrier takes to better the cargo tank industry.
Alaska West Express provides truckload transport of liquid- and dry-bulk products throughout the U.S. and Canada and specializes in trucking to Alaska with terminals in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Tacoma. It also operates a training center and offers classes in hazardous materials transport, emergency response and workplace safety.
Lynden Transport, Alaska West Express, Lynden International and Lynden Air Cargo, all part of the family of Lynden companies, received recertification as Green Star businesses at the Alaska Forum on the Environment event in February at the D’enaina Center in Anchorage.
Lynden’s Green Initiative Coordinator Anna Deal spoke to the Anchorage Rotary in February about the many environmental advancements made by Lynden companies. Anna’s presentation focused on how Lynden’s common sense approach to going green is good business and how small changes can add up to big savings for businesses and the environment. Her presentation was so well-received, she was asked to speak to the MatSu Valley Chapter of Rotary in Alaska.
Lynden Transport’s steady and consistent efforts at improving efficiency and reducing waste have paid off with real savings for the company and the environment. In 2008, Lynden Transport was the first and only trucking company in Alaska to join the SmartWay Transport Partnership and to earn the Green Star business award. Over ten years later, the company continues to improve and to see the results of these efforts.
"We started in 2008 with a complete re-evaluation of our line tractor specs for aerodynamics and reduced weight," explains Charlie Mottern, Lynden Transport Director of Maintenance. "With these changes we were able to dramatically improve our fuel economy and have continued to improve on these specs incorporating design elements into local and regional applications."
"Our trailer design maximizes payload and cube for the lane that it travels," he continues. "We have used heated and refrigerated trailers and all electric and electric standby for over 30 years. Wide-based tires and side skirts have been added in lanes that are best suited for those enhancements."
These changes have led to a substantial improvement in efficiency and emissions reductions. Since 2009, Lynden Transport has improved freight efficiency (measured in grams of CO2 per ton mile of freight moved) by 29 percent, miles per gallon by 43 percent, and reduced nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions by 63 percent and 81 percent respectively.
"We also work to reduce the time trucks spend idling by working with drivers and using automatic shutoff in areas where it isn’t a safety hazard," says Dallas Freeman, Director of Line Haul and Equipment. "We are partnering with the state to test hydronic heaters on our local trucks which allow us to shut the trucks off in extreme temperatures. Throughout the company, we have reduced the average truck idle time per truck by nearly 14 percent in the last five years."
Small changes add up to big savings in other areas as well. Nearly 20 separate energy efficiency upgrades at Lynden Transport’s facilities have led to an overall 37 percent reduction in natural gas use and 18 percent reduction in electricity used.
The Anchorage Service Center replaced all exterior lights with efficient LEDs resulting in a 30 percent reduction in electric use in the past 10 years. "Each year we pick a project, replacing old lights, adding motion sensors, repairing insulation. We even removed the lights in the vending machine," says Richard Hennagin, HSSE Manager.
The Anchorage facility also cut its heating needs by over 50 percent by investing in automatic thermostats and insulated dock shelters. The shelters prevent heat loss around the trailers when they are parked at the dock for loading and unloading. Lynden will continue to strive to operate in the most efficient manner with the highest regard for the health and safety of our employees and protection of the environment.