Aloha Marine Lines Voyage H0497W, which departed in December last year, carried the heaviest cargo load Aloha Marine Lines has ever transported from Seattle to Hawaii. According to Aloha Marine Lines Seattle Service Center Manager Tom Crescenzi, the Namakani barge was close to its maximum. "We still have a little more tonnage we could get on board, but not much. The barge capacity is 16,850 tons and the sailing carried 13,158 tons of cargo plus the weight of the containers, dunnage, etc." With 691 picks and 1,032 TEU it was an impressive load. Aloha Marine Lines purchased two large barges from Sause Brothers last year that enabled the Hawaii capacity expansion.
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Recently the Whittier Provider and the Bering Titan delivered two locomotives to Skagway for the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway. This delivery completed the transport of six new locomotives to replace the old fleet which was built in the 1960s. Weighing in at 265,000 pounds each, the new engines are 30 percent larger than the old. Their size required a special rail sailing of Alaska Marine Lines' Southeast Provider last year when the first replacement engines were brought to Alaska.
"All the locomotives were transported on special barges that feature tracks on the barge deck designed to move rail cars," says Skagway Service Center Manager Cory Bricker. The new locomotives were built by National Railway Equipment Company in Mount Vernon, IL then shipped to Seattle.
Alaska Marine Lines has moved locomotives for the railway before using a heavy-duty dolly as a means of transport. The dolly and locomotive 'package' were stowed onto the deck of a regular barge, which allowed for maneuvering upon arrival. This time, the locomotives rode the rail barges and were unloaded by crane for placement on the White Pass railway.
"These locomotives are valued at about $2.5 million each so everyone was invested in making sure the move went smoothly and safely," Cory says.
Dubbed the scenic railway of the world, the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway covers 68 miles of breathtaking scenery between Skagway and Carcross, Yukon Territory.
Landing ramps are essential marine equipment in Southeast Alaska. The massive steel ramps connect the barge to land, allowing for the safe and smooth transfer of freight at Southeast ports. This summer, Juneau received a new ramp built by Lynden's long-term partner Western Towboat. The Juneau ramp – 120-feet long, 24-feet wide and 243,000 pounds – took six months to build in Seattle. Two cranes were needed to lift it from the Western Towboat yard onto the barge.
Ramps must hold up under the weight of 165,000-pound forklifts hauling payloads of 90,000 pounds or more, day after day. "We use them multiple times a day so quality is extremely important in their construction. We know we can count on Western Towboat's integrity in building our ramps and that they will last for years," says Juneau Service Center Manager Mike Payne.
After construction at Western Towboat's Seattle yard, the Juneau ramp was barged to Alaska Marine Lines' Y-5 terminal. The ramp's 90,000-pound tank was built in Ketchikan by Vigor Shipyard. It also needed a ride to Juneau and was delivered ahead of the ramp.
"The new ramp is working great. Western Towboat has the best fabricators around," says Marine Operations Manager Joe Purcell. "The whole team did an amazing job getting this done with no delays in barge service to Juneau. We pulled the old ramp out at noon on a Thursday and had the new ramp operational at 2 a.m. Sat., July 4. We had to wait for the high tide Friday night to lift it into the water."
The old ramp is still undergoing repairs in the Juneau yard and is expected to be set in Haines later this year. Western Towboat has built ramps for Alaska Marine Lines ports in Ketchikan, Cordova, Petersburg, Seattle, Whittier and Haines.
Four Alaska Marine Lines rail barges are getting new piping and ballast systems designed by marine industry leader Glosten with installation by Meridian Marine Industries. "The rail barges are hitting 20 years of service and were in need of some upgrades," explains John Maketa, T-115 Port Engineer in Seattle. "These barges are the backbone of our rail operations and Central Alaska service. The updates will prepare them for another 20 years of service."
Two barges, the Anchorage Provider and Whittier Provider, already have the new piping systems installed. The Fairbanks Provider is scheduled for updates in August and the Nana Provider sometime next year. Using a patented rack system, the rail barges transport containers and rail cars from Seattle to Whittier, AK where the rail cars are rolled onto the train tracks.
The ballast systems are a network of valves, pipes and pumps below deck on all Alaska Marine Lines rail barges. The tanks are filled with fresh water to trim the barge before sailing. With six 1,200-ton ballast tanks on each barge, a total weight of 2,400 tons of water is moved between tanks to trim the barge for efficient towing.
Each rail barge is receiving the following services and updates:
- New ballast system, including all valves and actuators. An actuator is an attached electrical motor that allows the valves to be operated and monitored remotely. The operations crews can operate the system from on deck without going into the pump room.
- System modifications to add ballast water treatment systems in the future.
- New wave wall doors to protect the generator.
- Rebuilt valves in the spill containment system with modifications that will allow inspection and repair in the future.
- Removal of excessive hull paint built up by 20 years of paint jobs. Pictured right, a robot removes old paint from the hull of the Anchorage Provider at SeaSpan Drydock in Vancouver, B.C.
- Removal of generators for complete inspections and replacement of worn parts.
- Fuel tanks cleaned and refurbished.
- Complete recoating of all ballast tanks.
"John has done a great job coordinating these updates, including planning, vendor selection, material logistics and scheduling with operations for maintenance windows to work on the four barges," says Marine Maintenance Manager David Byrne. "We are known for our exceptionally well-maintained and reliable equipment and these upgrades and renovations allow us to maintain that reputation with our customers."
Every fishing season, Alaska Marine Lines refrigeration mechanics (reefer techs) leave Seattle and make the journey north to keep Lynden's refrigerated containers (reefers) in top shape. The techs fly to Alaska and then accompany the loaded reefers on the southbound barges. These ride-along-with-the-reefer trips have been taking place for years, but the voyage of the reefer technician has not been well known. Until now.
Mechanic Greg Restad was so impressed with his off-site assignment that he decided to document his experience. Greg's notes provide a unique look behind the scenes of this annual effort to protect customers' fish and other refrigerated freight and maintain Lynden's equipment. It should be noted that Greg has 30 years of experience working on refrigerated equipment including working for Les Candee and Art Burg at Foss Maritime in the early 1980s.
According to Assistant Maintenance and Repair Manager Steve Tafoya, mechanics check around 3,000 reefers each year during the north-to-south trips. Most reefers last around 20 years, but with excellent care, they can last longer.
"We run a pre-trip inspection anytime a reefer enters the yard so we keep close tabs on all equipment and any emerging problems," Steve says. "It could be power, a leak, burnout of the evaporator motor or something else. The most common issue with reefers is a lack of communication with the tug. Our mechanics also check and service generator sets, make sure gear vans are stocked and that the GRASP reefer monitoring system, all plugs and time share panels are working," Steve explains. Everything is documented and becomes part of the service record.
Mechanics sleep on the tug when the barge is under way or in bunkhouses in Naknek, Dillingham and St. Paul. Meals are eagerly anticipated as the tug cooks are known for their gourmet cooking. "Naknek has a great bunch of guys and good accommodations," Greg says. "They made me feel welcome and fed me well. It's nice when I get a couple days to check out the yard and my units before loading because once they start loading, these guys move. Everyone pitches in to get us in and out of port. I never heard 'It's not my job' even when I had a container I couldn't fix that was located in the middle of the stack. They had to bring in a barge alongside and crane it out of the middle of my barge. 'It's no one's fault; it can't be helped; let's get it done' was their response."
It's not always smooth sailing. Sometimes parts have to be flown in to repair a reefer or an employee needs medical care. One tech was suffering from an abscessed tooth and had to come back to Seattle, so he traded places with the next tech on the list.
And then there are rough seas. On Greg's first outing in Naknek, he was worried when he heard about 16-foot seas on the voyage. "The 70-knot gusts almost knocked me off my feet in the yard, and then they told me we were going to leave," he says. "Thankfully, Captain Eric kept the wind behind us, charted sheltered waters and, by the time we got into the Gulf, the seas had calmed down to 10 feet. The crews were always great. They were polite and forgiving when I wasn't familiar with the program and ran me though the safety procedures and orientation. It was fun to see how fast I could don a survival suit."
Although the reefer techs are away from home for long periods, they are treated to delicious meals like prime rib and salmon prepared by the tug cooks. The views are pretty good, too. Eagles, whales, sharks and porpoises all share air and sea space with the barges and tugs in the North Pacific. For many reefer techs, it's a nice change of scenery from working in the Seattle yard.
"These techs are on the front line making sure our reefers are keeping the fish cold and the perishables fresh," Steve says. "They spend months away from home, family and friends to uphold the Lynden brand of service. We all appreciate the work they do."
Construction is under way for a new hydropower facility in Kake, AK and Alaska Marine Lines is supporting the project by transporting penstock pipe and other materials. Local electrical utility Inside Passage Electric Cooperative (IPEC) is building the facility at an old hatchery near town. The plant will allow the community of 630 people to move from diesel power and generators to a cheaper, cleaner and more efficient power source. It's estimated that the new plant will save 2 million pounds of CO2 per year. According to Arrowhead Transfer Operations Manager Adam Davis, the first shipment of pipe was delivered last summer, but the project has been in the works for more than a year. "We started working on the project in 2018 with contractor Rock N Road," he says. "We've already handled 60 loads of concrete and aggregate weighing between 20,000 to 66,000 pounds each to build pillars, thrust block and other features." Many of the deliveries tested Adam's driving skills as they required backing a fully loaded 40-foot trailer down a long, one-lane driveway. The trailer was too wide for the narrow bridge so the excavator was used to unload the pipe at the job site.
IPEC is scheduled to finish the $10 million project this year. Pictured above, 54-inch penstock pipe is stacked for delivery at the Alaska Marine Lines yard in Kake.
Alaska Marine Lines, an Alaska marine transportation company, is expanding its service from Seattle and Anchorage to the Arctic Region in 2019. Bowhead Transport will provide the destination services at the North Slope villages of Point Hope, Point Lay, Wainwright, Utqiagvik (Barrow), and Kaktovik. Alaska Marine Lines will also service Deadhorse with its two annual sealifts. Bowhead, thru its teaming agreement with Alaska Marine Lines, will continue to participate in the door-to-shore service to the Arctic that it initiated over 30 years ago.
The new stops will be added to Alaska Marine Lines’ many ports of call, joining the major hubs of Naknek, Dillingham, Nome, Bethel and Kotzebue and more than 65 villages along the coast of Western Alaska.
“Adding these new locations allows us to meet our goal of serving the entire state of Alaska, from Ketchikan to Kaktovik. From April to October each year we bring essential supplies to local villages in Western Alaska and provide critical support to the seafood industry,” says Alaska Marine Lines President Kevin Anderson. “Bowhead Transport has been serving Alaska for decades and we are proud to team with them to continue to provide the excellent service their customers depend on.”
For more information or to book a shipment, contact Alaska Marine Lines at 800-426-3113 or email@example.com.
Lynden International has served the Hawaiian Islands for more than 30 years and provided service to Guam for more than 20 years. For 2018, Lynden has enhanced its customer offerings in both locations by adding Less-than-Container-Load (LCL) ocean service between Los Angeles and Guam and LCL barge service between Seattle and Honolulu via Aloha Marine Lines.
"The new service provides a lower-cost alternative to traditional steamship line service," explains Charlie Ogle, Western Regional Sales Manager. "We offer twice monthly sailings to Oahu with connections to the neighboring islands." With this added service Lynden continues to offer our full menu of value-added capabilities like EZ Commerce, multimodal shipping options, Dynamic Routing, time-specific deliveries, and warehousing. To find out more about our services, please visit our website www.lynden.com/LINT or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students on the Kenai Peninsula are riding in style thanks to new Apple Bus Company buses delivered via Alaska Marine Lines. "We moved 88 buses from Seattle last Spring," explains Matt Jolly, Alaska Marine Lines Central Account Manager.
Apple Bus Company is a pupil transportation provider based in Missouri. Apple's 10-year contract with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is expected to save the school district around $1 million over the next decade compared to the previous contract with another vendor. The buses also feature improved heaters and safety signage.
The first batch of 10 buses were driven to Seattle and loaded at the Alaska Marine Lines Seattle terminal for the voyage to Whittier. School district drivers picked them up from there and drove to the bus barn in Soldotna. "We secured the buses on flats and put them up in the racks on the railbarge or loaded directly in the key if space was available," Matt explains.
Alaska Marine Lines also moved over 180 school buses the previous year for the Anchorage School District. "We are happy to support Alaska schools and students by moving the buses where they need to go," Matt says. "Wanema Arndt of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District even went to Whittier and watched our crew work one of the inbound barges."
Matt commended the operations crews in Seattle and Whittier for making exceptions for the bus deliveries. "Customers don't typically pick up freight in Whittier," he says. "We're not set up with customer service people there. It's a handful of operators and a mechanic essentially. It took a concerted effort to communicate between the Seattle terminal and Whittier pro numbers for each voyage so appropriate paperwork was on hand to properly deliver the buses. A big shout out to all of the operations people who made this happen."
Alaska Marine Lines' Kuskokwim Trader filled in for the USS Turner Joy museum ship this winter serving as a temporary breakwater to protect the Bremerton Marina. The Turner Joy was scheduled for required maintenance in Seattle in January which left the marina without a breakwater to protect the small craft moored there.
Alaska Marine Lines Marine Maintenance Manager David Byrne first got the call from Steven Sparks at the Port of Bremerton. "He saw the Kuskokwim Trader anchored over at Sinclair Inlet near Gorst and came up with the idea to use it as a stand-in for the larger ship," he says. "At 300 feet long, the barge isn't as long as the 418-foot destroyer, so Western Towboat towed it to a spot further away from the bank where it would work just as well."
The barge did its job protecting the northern end of the marina from January through Feb. 28 when the Turner Joy returned to the harbor, towed by Western Towboat.
"When port staff called Alaska Marine Lines for help, David Byrne was very accommodating and acted quickly to help the Port and Historic Ships Association in resolving the issue by providing us with the Kuskokwim Trader.
Mike Clevenger and Rheagan Sparks helped with administrative tasks," says Jim Rothlin, Port of Bremerton CEO. "I very much appreciate Lynden's support."
The Kuskokwim will soon be towed to Western Alaska loaded with cargo for the annual fish season in Bristol Bay. "It was a great fit for the 35-year-old barge," David says, "and we were happy we could help out the Port of Bremerton."