A drone photo of the salt operation taken by Chase Hodge, Engineer on the Bering Marine vessel Arctic Bear.
Since 2008, the Lynden companies have delivered over 1 million tons of road salt to the state of Washington via ship and barge from Chile and Mexico. "We have done the same on a smaller scale in Alaska," says Bering Marine President Steve Isaacs. "February marked the 18th ship since 2008 that we've brought into Washington. We haven't brought a second ship into Seattle during a winter season in 14 years, so this was a special deal. We had a large ship in October, and the Seattle weather and demand warranted a second."
Rick McKinley of Alaska Marine Trucking in Dutch Harbor and Neal Scott from Knik in Bethel have lent their expertise to the project for many years. "Their ability to overcome any challenge during an offload is priceless," Steve says. "The salt operation is the embodiment of our One Lynden culture." Bering Marine arranges the purchase and shipping, Alaska Marine Lines provides barges and storage, Western Towboat provides towing services, and LTI, Inc. drivers haul the salt across the state for Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) crews to de-ice roads for safe travel.
During the offload Bering Marine provides a support tug and oversees onsite safety and logistics. Knik plays a vital role with expert operators and mechanics, and Alaska Marine Lines, Alaska Marine Trucking and Northland Services all contribute top-notch operators, mechanics and crane drivers. Lynden Incorporated handles purchasing, accounting, legal and customs support. "It is truly an all-hands-on deck operation," Steve explains. "Approximately 35 people are directly involved in the ship offload in Seattle's Elliott Bay, plus many more shoreside."
Compared to other offloading operations, the Lynden team is hard to beat. "We average about 700 tons per hour moving salt off of a ship," Steve says. "It typically takes us about 72 hours to offload a larger ship compared to other operators that take 7 days. In February two ships arrived from Chile within a day of each other. Ours was completed in 2.3 days, and the Canadian ship was completed in 13.5 days. This speaks volumes to the work ethic, drive, culture, and all-around fantastic people we have working here at Lynden."