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record_snowfallAlaska Marine Trucking’s Anchorage yard.

Lynden’s Anchorage employees closed out 2023 with challenging weather conditions, but kept the freight moving to serve Southcentral Alaska and North Slope customers. As of Dec. 31, Anchorage received over 70 inches of snowfall, making it the all-time snowiest December-to-date since record keeping began in the last century.

"In my 27 years on the job, last year and this year are in tough competition with one another for the most challenging due to heavy snow," says Aron Shawback, Service Center Manager at Alaska Marine Trucking in Anchorage. "We’ve been working hard to clear the snow to continue to serve our customers without interruption. They are our No. 1 priority. It’s a day-in and day-out process and it has continued nonstop since the snow started flying in November."

Western Central Regional Manager TJ Vires says this has been a unique winter due to record snowfall coupled with the increased freight activity for oil projects on the North Slope. With as much as 20 inches of snow falling each night, employees were coming in early to prepare for the day by clearing snow from parking lots, containers, trucks and other equipment in Whittier. "The snow was so high we could climb right into the trucks at cab level," he says.

The rail operation in Whittier was affected as well with tracks and switches requiring removal of ice sometimes two to three times a day.

"In these conditions it takes very careful project prioritization with staff to complete our daily work and keep the freight moving on time for customers. Our employees can shift gears quickly," TJ explains. "If the snow is wet and heavy, we have to be mindful of the added weight and safety implications. Wet snow can add 20,000 pounds to a load. Everyone has been understanding and doing a great job of keeping things moving and making sure customers’ needs are met."

A wet winter transition in December created a soft and muddy – not frozen – Dalton Highway, which made for challenging driving conditions in Fairbanks, according to Darren Stansbury, Lynden Transport Service Center Manager. "We were dealing with a lot of loads of pipe for the slope, along with an uptick in our day-today freight," he says. The road conditions caused unusual breakdowns of equipment and long transit times which made moving large volumes difficult.

"Drivers that could typically run three trips a week were getting one, maybe two, trips if we were lucky," Darren says. "Gage Schutte and Danny Hart at Alaska West Express helped out by working with the DOT to get certain sections of the road repaired so trucks could make a successful trip to Prudhoe Bay in a decent time. Our teams in operations, sales, customer service, and dispatch from Lynden Transport and Alaska West Express worked very hard keeping customers notified while we worked through it. This is what keeps our customers coming back. They could see we were doing everything we could to get them what they need up north to operate."

Topics from this blog: Lynden Alaska Marine Trucking Alaska West Express Lynden Employees Lynden Transport Alaska LTL Truckload Ground AML Featured

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