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AML Maintenance and Repair team achieves new heights in safety

Posted on Thu, Apr 14, 2022

blogProving that safety is job one at Alaska Marine Lines, the Maintenance and Repair (M&R) team came up with a 'better mousetrap,' according to Steve Hardin (pictured above, middle), Director of Equipment & Maintenance. Technicians do their complex work at all heights and in all positions. A tech might need to be lying flat on the ground to perform routine maintenance on a piece of equipment, or 10 feet in the air repairing the top of a tanker container.

It's the elevated repair work that can sometimes create dangerous situations. Falls are one of the most common injuries in the workplace. "Our employees have done a great job of remaining safe while working at heights," Steve says, "but we are always seeking ways to mitigate hazards."

Employees are outfitted with fall-arrest gear, but it requires time to unfasten and refasten belts and buckles as they move from point to point. Agreeing that there was room for improvement, the fab shop crew of Michael Fico (pictured above, left), Kelly Skinner and Adam Carruthers (pictured above, right) started brainstorming ideas and came up with a completely new way to work at elevation. Within a few weeks a container tank scaffolding system was designed to fit over the containers, creating a stable and much safer framework for techs to perform repair and maintenance tasks.

Dubbed the "CTS," the rack is made of heavy-gauge steel channel fabricated with a ladder to access the top of a tank container. "We knew there had to be a safer, more convenient way to work on top of equipment," says Welder Michael Fico. To keep it in place, the CTS is equipped with steel plungers in each corner, and wheels were added to easily move it from one piece of equipment to another in the shop.

Steve says the CTS prototype is just the beginning and that more safety features will be added to future models.

Tags: Lynden, Lynden Employees, Safety, AML

Aloha Marine Lines moves boats for Pacific Whale Foundation

Posted on Mon, Mar 14, 2022

boats (1)Aloha Marine Lines recently transported two large tour boats for the Pacific Whale Foundation. Celebrations sailed from Seattle followed by Ocean Legacy. The boats were craned off the barge at Barber's Point Harbor on Oahu. The larger boat is 80 feet long, 18 feet high and weighs 118,000 pounds.

"The boats were so large we hired vendors to assist with the lift and launch into the water," explains Joan Nacino, Pricing Business Analyst for Aloha Marine Lines. "Intermodal Coordinator Lauren Minckler responded to the initial request to move the boats, and Service Center Manager Zack Anderson and Freight Operations Gerry Bustamante assisted in putting the project together."

Upon arrival in Hawaii, Celebrations was taken to a boat repair yard located near Barber's Point harbor and the Aloha Marine Lines office. Ocean Legacy was launched from Barber's Point using a crane company and divers. Both boats join the Pacific Whale Foundation's fleet on Maui. The Foundation plans to purchase more boats from the same boat builder, Mavrik Marine, located in La Conner, WA.

Tags: Lynden, Hawaii, United States, Multi-Modal, Ocean, AML

Lynden celebrates female leadership and contributions

Posted on Tue, Mar 08, 2022

My project (11)International Women's Day is March 8, and during the month of March women are being recognized for their social, economic, cultural and political achievements. "This is a great time to focus on some of Lynden's female leaders and their unique contributions," says Vice President of Employee Relations and Business Development Gail Knapp.

From behind the steering wheel to under the chassis, Lynden's female drivers, pilots, mechanics, executives, accountants and others make up a talented workforce that is growing each year. The transportation industry has traditionally attracted more men, but that is changing. Natalie Stephenson worked her way up from an accountant 32 years ago to her current position of Vice President and Controller. "It's important to provide opportunities so more women can become leaders and learn how to contribute their views and think strategically to make Lynden an even better company," she says.

Gail Knapp and Judy McKenzie were Lynden's first female operating company presidents, Gail for Alaska Marine Lines and Judy for Lynden Air Cargo. "When I started working for Lynden in the early 1980s the company was smaller," Gail says.

"There were many meetings where I was the only woman in the room. Today, women have a seat at the table, but there is always room to grow. I tell female colleagues to seek opportunities to move up and learn more. Don't be afraid to put your hand up and hold your head high."

"At the beginning of my career in the '90s, most of my colleagues were men. Now it's closer to 50/50," says Stephanie Littleton, Lynden's Vice President of Taxes, "and both vice presidents who preceded me at Lynden were women."

Michelle Fabry is the only woman in Alaska working as a Director of Safety for a part 121 air operator. She is also Lynden Air Cargo's first female Director of Safety. "In the past I have felt I had to work harder to prove that I was capable of accomplishing a job primarily done by men," she says. "This motivated me to study more, network and take training beyond the minimum standards. Now I focus on integrity. Sometimes this means being wrong and admitting that, but at the end of the day, your word should have meaning."

Lynden Logistics Manager Becky MacDonald has watched opportunities for women change drastically over the past 30 years. "When I first started out as a cook on tugboats at age 18, I was one of two women and we weren't allowed to go on certain voyages as they were 'too long.' Now, there are female captains," she says.

Cary Lukes has served on Lynden's Board of Directors since 2012. She also worked for LTI, Inc. and spent summers in Bush Alaska with Knik employees. "I'm proud that the brilliant, hard-working women of Lynden are being honored in March and every month," she says.

Leadership at Lynden Service Centers is trending female, including Dani Camden in Anchorage, Jennifer Parker in San Francisco, Sheri Harris in Houston and Kristina Jordan in Seattle. "When I think of how things are changing, I think of the women who have gone before us," Kristina says. "My guide was always Laura Sanders. Watching her career let me know that I was good enough to reach for the top positions in the company." Lynden Vice President and Controller Stacey Sunderland says transportation is still a male-dominated industry so women need to be confident and strong. "As more women move into higher roles at organizations, it encourages and motivates others to reach those levels."

Tags: Lynden, LTI Inc., Lynden Air Cargo, Lynden Employees, Lynden Logistics, Knik Construction, AML

Lynden makes important deliveries in hard-to-reach places

Posted on Mon, Feb 28, 2022

My project (8)Lynden Air Cargo participated in two lifesaving projects this winter on opposite ends of the globe. Two flights were chartered to La Paz, Bolivia to supply Bolivian residents with Covid vaccines donated by the U.S. Government. Lynden's Hercules aircraft was one of the only planes capable of landing at the high-altitude airport; elevation 13,325 feet.

Each charter carried 1 million doses of Pfizer vaccines packed in dry ice with real-time temperature loggers to protect the temperature-sensitive drugs. "This project involved multiple Lynden crews and coordination with several departments as well as the customer," says Dan Marshall, Lynden Air Cargo Commercial Operations Manager. Additional charters are scheduled this month.

More than 7,500 miles away in the remote whaling communities of Point Hope and Kaktovik, a Lynden Herc delivered four 40-foot "hi-cube" containers to store frozen whale meat from the annual hunts in the villages. "Their size makes them extremely difficult to load and offload, so it required some novel solutions to accomplish the delivery," explains Dave Beach, Lynden Air Cargo Commercial Operations Manager. Lynden's Joe Bates and Cory Myren worked with the Alaska Marine Lines team to modify tractor dollies into mobile platforms for transfer. "Our partners at AML did an exceptional job," Dave says. "We found a way to help these communities when the only other delivery option was to wait for the next barge season.

"Lynden was key to making this important delivery happen for us. The flight crew watched for breaks in the weather and flew during small windows of opportunity," says Jenny Evans, Grants and Operations Manager for the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission. "It is so meaningful to our communities and to ensuring food security for our villages."

Tags: Lynden, Lynden Air Cargo, Alaska, Charters, Temperature-Controlled, Air, International, AML

A look back at the Kivalina Evacuation road and bridge project in Western Alaska

Posted on Tue, Feb 01, 2022

Kivalina BridgeAlthough all Lynden shipments are important, it's not every day that Alaska Marine Lines transports cargo used to build an evacuation bridge for an endangered Alaskan community. The long-awaited Kivalina Bridge, connecting the Western Alaska village of Kivalina to the mainland, was completed last spring by Lynden customer ASRC Civil Construction with support from Alaska Marine Lines.

For decades, the small coastal community of Kivalina has been working with a variety of agencies to address threats of coastal erosion and flooding. The bridge and an 8-mile gravel road are part of the Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Access Road project which provides residents an evacuation route in the event of a catastrophic storm or ocean surge.

"We first started talking about building a road and bridge for the community several years ago," says Mike Morris, Alaska Marine Lines Account Manager. "Now the road and bridge are done, and a replacement school project followed. We have moved building materials, equipment and other supporting freight for all three projects."

Getting freight to a remote village on a small spit of land is no small task. The projects required a combination of mainline barge sailings from Seattle and Anchorage to Nome, and from Nome, numerous landing craft voyages for additional inter-port moves. Each landing craft can transport up to 400 tons of cargo, which came in handy for the rock trucks, excavators and huge steel girders needed to build roads and the bridge.
Kivalina project, landing craft Nunaniq"We have worked with ASRC for many years, so we knew what was expected and got right to work building loads and coordinating sailings," Mike says. The first load of girders left Seattle aboard the landing craft Nunaniq. "It was a challenge to figure out how to load steel girders that were 104-feet long onto a landing craft with a 100-foot deck," says Brian Ward, Western Alaska Marine Operations Manager. "For me, that was the toughest piece of this move."

In Seattle, Brian, Tom Crescenzi, Zed Runyan and Oliver Zidek came up with a dolly system that bolted two girders together for the support needed for the 100-ton weight.

A long, cold winter presented another challenge for the crews. "That year we were fighting ice, and spring had been slow to come," Mike says. "Our summer season for serving Western Alaska and the surrounding villages starts in early April to mid-May, and even later in places like Kivalina above the Arctic Circle, but it's always contingent on Mother Nature."

Beginning with Bristol Bay, nine scheduled sailings, with multiple shuttle voyages, provided delivery to approximately 80 different coastal and river villages.

"We are happy to be a part of improving the quality of life and accessibility in remote locations. We pride ourselves on being able to help communities by bringing in needed equipment and supplies to complete civic projects, like the school improvements in Kivalina," Mike says.

Tags: Lynden, Alaska, Project Logistics, Multi-Modal, Ocean, Construction, AML

Alaska Marine Lines wraps up strong fish season

Posted on Mon, Nov 08, 2021

My Post - 2021-11-01T112738.579"We had a very good seafood year," says Tyler Maurer, Alaska Marine Lines Seafood Sales Manager. The 2021 fish season for Alaska Marine Lines and the supporting Lynden companies has been strong. Alaska salmon runs were 15 percent higher than projected, and the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run stunned scientists with a record 66.1 million fish, with a catch of approximately 40 million which was 90 percent of the record 44 million.

At Lynden, salmon season is an 'all hands on deck' event typically lasting from May through September. All Lynden companies were busy keeping up with the volume this year, prompted not only by larger returns, but by restaurants opening back up after pandemic closures and a change in consumer buying habits.

Each year, Lynden Air Cargo flies fresh fish from Naknek, Emmonak, Cold Bay, Sand Point and Dillingham to Anchorage where Lynden Logistics provides support for transloading to Alaska Marine Lines, Alaska West Express and Lynden Transport and ships seafood with other air carriers all over the world. LTI, Inc. trucks provide Seattle surface delivery support and provides transportation to locations in the Lower 48.

On average, Alaska Marine Lines moves 7,000 containers of fish each year from Alaska fisheries southbound to Seattle. "We moved over 11,000 containers this year," Tyler explains, "and we still have more frozen and canned product to clean out of Alaska for a few more weeks to come."

Alaska Marine Lines moves significant volumes of frozen and canned fish from all over the state departing Western Alaska, Prince William Sound and Southeast. "We also have a new facility in Kodiak and have started to move domestic fish from the island. We use Kodiak as a re-handle port for fish originating in Western Alaska," Tyler says.

To prepare for the push each year, Lynden asks its customers for projections so it can build realistic expectations for staffing and equipment. "We knew this would be a big year," Tyler says. "We just didn't expect it would be this big of a year with all regions having strong returns."

Equipment reliability is extremely important when moving a temperature-controlled, high-value commodity like fish, so reefer techs take on an even more important role during fish season.

"With Copper River Kings selling at $80 per pound to retailers in the Lower 48 states, to start the season, we must have everything in place and running well to deliver the fish in pristine condition," Tyler says. "We are sometimes pushed to the limit in the summer months, but we all get the job done safely. From top to bottom, it's a Lynden-wide group effort, and we all lean on each other to get the job done including our partners at Western Towboat, Bering Marine and Dunlap Towing."

Tags: LTI Inc., Alaska West Express, Lynden Air Cargo, Seafood, Lynden Transport, Alaska, Lynden Logistics, Multi-Modal, AML

A wish comes true in Wrangell

Posted on Tue, Sep 21, 2021

Arrowhead Transfer Port Manager Scott Curley heard about a surprise shipment of Cars-themed bedroom furniture arriving in Wrangell on the barge. He then discovered that the Make-A-Wish Foundation asked the local fire department to deliver the furniture to a local boy via fire truck.Blog crop (2)-2

Scott decided the fire truck delivery was a "bit bland" so he came up with a new plan. "Scott suggested that we decorate one of our tractors and a forklift to match the characters in the Cars movie and join the delivery by creating a parade," explains Charity Hommel, Customer Service Manager.

Jason Gadd suffers from a form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. Jason's mother Dacee wrote to the foundation with a wish for furniture matching his favorite movie Cars. Scott, his wife Keeleigh, Dorthea Rooney, Charity, local drivers and Jason's uncles pulled the pallet of furniture when it arrived via barge, assembled it and loaded it on a flatbed for delivery the next day. The team then got to work decorating the vehicles as Guido and Mack.

"We spent our fourth of July in the warehouse working on this," Scott says. "We went through a lot of construction paper and tape!" On delivery day, the firetruck arrived at Jason's home and took him for a ride while volunteers assembled the furniture in his bedroom. "When Jason returned, the parade was ready with more than 50 Wrangell residents lining the streets all the way to Jason's front door," Scott says.

According to Dacee, she saw emotions in Jason that day that she hadn't seen in years. "I am just so thankful to everyone," she says.

Wrangell resident and Arrowhead customer Jim Debord wrote in to share what he witnessed that day. "Your people definitely went above and beyond to make that boy feel special. You have some really awesome people here representing your company."

Tags: Lynden Employees, LTL, Community, AML

Everyday Hero Profile: Gordy Lindblad

Posted on Fri, Aug 20, 2021

Lynden is recognizing employees who make a difference every day on the job and demonstrate our core values, Lynden's very own everyday heroes! Employees are nominated by managers and supervisors from all roles within the Lynden family of companies. Learn more about the people behind your shipment.

Introducing Gordy Lindblad, Facilities Maintenance Manager at Alaska Marine Lines in Seattle, Washington.
Everyday Hero post
Name: Gordy Lindblad

Company: Alaska Marine Lines

Title: Facilities Maintenance Manager

On the Job Since: 2004

Superpower: Always getting the job done

Hometown: Enumclaw, WA

Favorite Movie: Tombstone

Bucket List Destination: Taking all the grandkids to Disneyland

For Fun: Golf, playing with the grandkids

How did you start working for Alaska Marine Lines?
I had worked for Crowley Maritime for 30 years when Lynden took over the rail barge operation. I was asked to help out with the transition and then was lucky enough to be hired to help with the operation in Seattle and to help the Alaska Railroad with facility changes.

What is a typical day like for you?
I take care of 17 Alaska Marine Lines and Alaska Marine Trucking facilities in Seattle and Alaska. I work with managers and teams to maintain the facilities and handle repairs. I also do work for many of the other Lynden companies as needed, whether its docks, warehouses, offices or equipment like barges or tugs. Whatever is needed, I do it! I helped build the Petersburg and Haines facilities. Depending on what’s going on, we sometimes need to work around the clock dealing with weather and other issues that come up. I live in Enumclaw, so my commute is about an hour each way.

What has been most challenging in your career?
Making sure all facilities are maintained and safely operational. It can be a challenge when you are pouring concrete in the middle of the winter in Alaska!

Over the course of my career, I’ve had some interesting things happen like an A-frame building collapsed in Whittier under the snow and we had to repair it. We pride ourselves on doing as much marine repair as possible. It is tough to find marine contractors and repairs are very expensive. Before I was with Lynden a rail barge broke in half at sea and we had to figure out how to handle it.

What are you most proud of?
Building a new facility or upgrading a facility and the appreciation of everyone that uses it.

Tell us about your growing up years.
I come from a family of three brothers. We all played football, with one of my brothers going on to play for the Denver Broncos. I went into the navy out of high school and when I came out, I went to work on tugboats. After two years of being seasick, I went to work for Crowley loading rail barges in Seattle for 28 years.

What was your first job?
I worked nights in a brick yard when I was a senior in high school. My job was to run a cutter making different sizes of clay bricks to run through the 2-block long kilns.

What would surprise people about you?
When I was a kid, I always wanted to race boats and motorcycles. I did the motorcycles, but at 65 I actually had a chance to drive a flat-bottomed race boat. I was so sore afterward I decided it was not a good idea. It was a real eye-opener. Going 140 mph was way too fast for me.

Before working for Alaska Marine Lines, I had a roofing business and warehoused for Costco when they first started out doing hot tubs. I had a 20,000-square-foot warehouse and did all deliveries and warehoused for Washington, Oregon and California. I did 4,000 hot tubs a year.

How do you spend your time away from work?
I spend most of my time with my eight grandkids. I have three girls and five boys ranging in age from 3 months old to 9. I also play golf and have an endless honey-do list. We have some property in Enumclaw, and I have been ‘asked’ to build new decks, a green house and remodel bathrooms and bedrooms in my spare time.

What do you like best about your job?
By far the people. We have the most talented and hardworking people in the industry and wonderful support from leadership. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to work with everyone here at Lynden. I really believe anything is possible with the people here. It’s a workplace environment where everyone has input, and everyone is listened to.

Tags: Lynden Employees, Everyday Heroes, AML

Alaska Marine Lines increases capacity with 600 new containers

Posted on Wed, Aug 11, 2021

AML containersThis spring, the M/V Saga Welco Indiana departed the port of Qingdao, China, with 600 new refrigerated shipping containers on their way to be put into service at Alaska Marine Lines. These units are the latest addition to Alaska Marine Lines' fleet of nearly 29,000 shipping containers, flats and tanks. While they will primarily be used for transporting seafood products from Alaska, they will also carry all types of temperature controlled products.

"The story of how the containers made their way into service with AML is noteworthy," says Purchasing Manager Jay Marchand. Eastbound global steamship space was in short supply and prices were rising. Alaska Marine Lines collaborated with Lynden Logistics to export the containers from China and charter a ship to bring them east. Lead by International Manager Elodie Gergov, the Lynden Logistics team worked on the release from Chinese customs while Jay and AML's Steve Hardin worked with the container factory on specifications, pricing, inspections and production schedule.

With five days to go before the containers were scheduled to be loaded onto the ship, everything was on track for departure. But, at the eleventh hour, the Lynden team identified an unforeseen gap in port documentation and port release fees. On Friday afternoon of a Chinese holiday week, Lynden's local agent was asked to help clarify the issues. "By being there in person and having local contacts, the agent was able to act on behalf of both Lynden companies and clear the way for the containers to be delivered to the port," Jay says. "The ship successfully departed with all 600 containers and arrived in Dutch Harbor 10 days later."

The next challenge came at the offloading in Dutch Harbor. Alaska Marine Lines contracted with a company to perform the stevedoring using local labor. Due to a high demand of labor and a shortage of workers between fish seasons, only 50 percent of that labor was available, and the delays were counting against AML's contracted detention time. With the threat of the ship being detained another week before it could finish unloading, AML sought the assistance of Alaska Marine Trucking equipment operators, Bering Marine tugboat crews, and local AML Dutch Harbor operations employees to help unload the ship using the ship's gantry cranes. Once the ship was anchored in the bay, two AML barges were brought alongside the M/V Indiana and the Lynden team unloaded directly onto the barge decks.

"While the container purchase had many unexpected challenges, it was the access to logistics professionals and their perseverance that allowed the project to succeed," Jay says. As Elodie put it, "The world of international shipping is very unpredictable, but we never give up and always do our best."

Tags: Seafood, Alaska, Lynden Logistics, Grocery Chill and Frozen, Temperature-Controlled, Ocean, AML

Lynden companies team up to deliver emergency supplies for Anacortes water system

Posted on Tue, Aug 03, 2021

Lynden companies stepped up to help the City of Anacortes, WA when it experienced a shortage of chlorine for its regional water system. Despite a national shortage of sodium hypochlorite (chlorine), employees from Lynden Logistics Services, LTI, Inc. and Alaska Marine Lines worked together on a plan to deliver chlorine to the city as quickly as possible. Lynden Logistics Services moved 21 totes of chlorine product from Houston, and LTI, Inc., using Alaska Marine Lines' fiberglass-lined ISO tanks, delivered two loads from California to Anacortes. Thanks to these efforts and others, the treatment plant is now at full capacity and the regional water system is stable.

"The City of Anacortes is extremely thankful to Lynden as they assisted Marathon Refineries with the shortage of sodium hypochlorite," says Anacortes Mayor Laurie Gere. "This is an amazing community and the protection of the safe drinking water for our region was a priority for all. Again, the city has much appreciation and gratitude for the rapid and generous response."

Anacortes water system unloading chlorine2

Lynden has been a transportation partner to the Anacortes refinery for more than 20 years. "Our refinery team members have great relationships with a number of suppliers and contractors such as Univar and Lynden Logistics Services who were able to quickly respond to the supply shortage," says James Tangaro, Manager of the Marathon Anacortes Refinery. Pictured to the right is LTI, Inc. Driver Glenn Manning (top) and Mechanic Tyler Manke unloading a tank of chlorine.

Anacortes water system unloading chlorine

"It's a great feeling to know that our assistance averted what could have been a very serious situation for the community drinking water supply," says Lynden Logistics Logistics Services Manager Becky MacDonald. "It was a great team effort by all three companies with assistance from Lynden Safety Director Jim Maltby on the bulk loads, Al Hartgraves, Anthony Knapp and the LTI, Inc. crew providing the drivers and quick response, and Alaska Marine Lines providing the tanks."

Tara Havard, of the Marathon Anacortes Refinery, expressed her appreciation for Becky's quick response. "Through Becky's efforts, not only were we able to keep the refinery situation under control, we were also able to support the City of Anacortes during this crisis. Not to mention the creative brainstorming with Alaska Marine Lines to use the ISO tanks to fill bulk loads out of Univar in California."

Tara also noted her relationship with Lynden is deeply rooted to her days growing up in Valdez, AK where she observed her grandfather, Mac McElrath, navigate logistical and supply chain issues on a daily basis while working for the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. Mac worked closely with Harmon Hall, the father of Knik President Dan Hall. "That was the best training a kid from Alaska could have in creative problem solving, the power of relationships and taking care of your community," she says.

Tags: LTI Inc., Lynden Logistics, Community, AML