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Lynden mariners keep waters and people safe

Posted on Fri, Sep 03, 2021

Greta crew long shotLynden's captains, engineers, mates and deck hands do more than just deliver freight via barge, landing craft and tugboat. These mariners are the eyes and ears on the waters they sail, often being called upon to assist in emergency situations and to report on marine conditions for other vessels.

Just last month on the Kuskokwim River, the Bering Marine crew of the landing craft Greta pulled a man to safety after he fell off a seawall, while the crews of the Arctic Bear and Padilla assisted U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hickory with safe navigation of the river channel.

According to Brandon Leary, Alaska Marine Trucking's Bethel Service Center Manager, "I was getting ready for bed and my wife, Alyssa, actually saw the man fall in the river. I ran down with a life ring that I keep on my deck, and I had my wife alert the crew on the Greta while I assisted the man in the water." The Greta crew responded with a Jacob's ladder boarding device, then contacted emergency crews who met the tug on shore and transported the man to a local hospital.

"The City of Bethel would like to extend thanks and appreciation to the Greta crew," says Bethel City Manager Peter Williams. Police Lieutenant Jesse Poole also expressed thanks for the quick actions of the crew, which includes Captain Mike Dawson, Engineer Clint Mathews, Mates Chris Benny and Fred Haag, and Deckhands Anthony Augusto and Manny Belarmino.

"Those of us who live and work on vessels must always be prepared to expect the unexpected," says Captain Jack Rasmussen, Bering Marine Vice President. "We routinely perform safety drills so our crews know how to act and what to possibly expect during an incident. These drills are a regulatory requirement but also essential to protect our crews and equipment. We are proud of the Greta crew for their lifesaving actions in a Man Overboard (MOB) situation."

Another Bering Marine vessel was on the same river providing crucial navigation information so the U.S. Coast Guard could mark the channel with seasonal buoys. This is a yearly task as the channel changes each year.

"The Arctic Bear tug was running the river as soon as the ice went out this year," explains Port Engineer Steve Isaacs. "The crew developed a good track line by using a skiff they launch off the tug, help from locals in the area, and from Captain David Curtis on Bering Marine's pilot boat Padilla."

When the USCGC Hickory arrived in June, the crew reached out to Captain Chuck Gaffney on the Arctic Bear. He provided track lines for the 2021 channel and the location of shoals and sandbars to mark with buoys for safe navigation. In addition to Captain Gaffney, crew members include Engineer Sean Brooks and Mates Joe Pirak and Dave Smith.

Hickory Captain and Commanding Officer Jeannette Greene reached out to the crew with a thank you for the yearly assistance. "I sincerely appreciate your help with river information, soundings and shoaling each year," she writes. The Hickory crew marked buoy 28 with a small bear in appreciation of the Arctic Bear and its crew.

Tags: Bering Marine Corporation, Lynden Employees, Safety, Alaska, Ocean

Lynden innovations and equipment make for calm seas

Posted on Tue, Aug 31, 2021

Lynden is known for providing innovative solutions to its customers. In a new twist on the term 'holding pen,' Lynden created a specially designed rack to hold surfboards for damage-free ocean transit. "There will always be a market for surfboards in Hawaii," explains Los Angeles Service Center Manager James Bisho, "so why not be the leader in providing cutting-edge transportation from the mainland to the islands?"

Lynden handles just about any type of freight imaginable from Los Angeles to Hawaii - from heavy machinery to perishable fruit to solar panels - via both air and ocean, full-container-load (FCL) and less-than-container-load (LCL). Coby Peterson of Marko Foam Products approached Lynden about shipping foam surfboard 'blanks' from LAX to Honolulu knowing they would be stowed in a container, but he didn't expect a special rack designed for just his freight. Lynden's Business Development Manager Maggie Parks couldn't wait to take Peterson's call. "I knew we could help him with this unique product," she says. "We thrive on and excel at requests like this. We are very good at creating solutions and showing nimbleness with how we can handle freight."

Lynden's 40-foot containers are equipped with Kinedyne Kaptive Beam® decking systems that can be adjusted at multiple levels to stack freight in a variety of configurations. The specialized containers are the only ones available in Hawaii and, with containers now in short supply, the 'sea cans' expand Lynden's shipping capacity at a critical time. K-beam container loading with forklift 2

"With the Kaptive Beam® system, we can carry more cargo per container. Customers save time and money and realize increased value with every load," Parks explains. "I am receiving positive feedback from our surfboard customers on this new option for surfboards and blanks. We have taken a collaborative approach, finding better ways of packing and moving the boards."

"Lynden has greatly increased our business on the Hawaiian Islands by providing a reliable and cost-effective shipping method to better serve our customers," says Peterson, Marko's Manager of Business Development and Marketing.

Besides Marko Foam Products, based in Huntington Beach, CA, Lynden is now handling shipping for other California companies including Catch Surf and Pyzel Surfboards. Pyzel, a leading global surfboard manufacturer, is moving full containers of boards and blanks to Honolulu inside Lynden's Kaptive Beam®-configured containers.

Lynden is well-known as one of the largest providers of air freight forwarding between the mainland and Hawaii, but it's now gaining recognition for ocean service with a variety of LCL options. The multi-mode capabilities of choosing barge, steamship or air and mixing the modes to speed up or slow down delivery for changing timelines and budgets is a selling point.

"Our service levels give us multiple layers of experience and options to offer customers," explains Stuart Nakayama, Lynden Vice President of Trade Lane Development. "Ocean LCL has always been a part of our service, but things really took off last year when we added our containers equipped with the Kaptive Beam® system, which allows us to manage our loads more effectively and price competitively. We can mix and match heavy, odd-sized loads, double-stack and handle just about anything - from tall pallets of odd-sized freight like surfboard blanks, to smaller pieces." K-beam container interior with forklift

With backed up ports, slowed supply chains, and a shortage of containers, ocean shipping has been anything but smooth sailing this year. "The ocean shipping industry is still feeling the effects of the pandemic. It's like a snake trying to eat a rabbit," Nakayama says. "Log jams at port of entry are still occurring and impacting the Southern California market. It used to take four days to get large vessels unloaded, reloaded and leaving the port. Now it takes weeks. In my 33 years in the industry, this is unprecedented. As the experts, we are here to help our customers navigate these sometimes choppy waters and make sure we take care of their logistics needs." 

Despite the current challenges, Lynden employees still manage to pull off wins for customers on a routine basis. Recently Lynden's Los Angeles team worked through a weekend after an urgent shipment arrived after deadline on a Friday night. They knew their customers at a well-known grocer had a division vice president arriving on Monday to inspect the store. The bagged salads had to be on the refrigerated shelf when he arrived. So they flagged the perishable freight, quickly split the cargo, prepared the documents and booked space on the first available flights. The store passed the inspection.

"Whether it's working overtime, creating new ways to protect freight, or offering the latest and best equipment to ship that freight across the Pacific, we are always thinking of our customers," Nakayama says, "even if it means building holding pens for surfboards!" 

Tags: Hawaii, Retail, Multi-Modal, Ocean

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

Aloha Marine Lines transports heaviest cargo load yet to Hawaii

Posted on Wed, Mar 24, 2021

AML barge loadingAloha 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.

Tags: Hawaii, Ocean, AML

Locomotives all arrive safely by barge in Skagway

Posted on Fri, Jan 15, 2021

White Pass locomotive on AML bargeRecently 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.

Tags: Alaska, Oversized/Heavy Haul, Ocean, AML

Bison bulls relocate to Sitkalidak Island in Alaska with Lynden's help

Posted on Tue, Dec 08, 2020

Buffalo Bulls being loaded for transportEarlier this year the Alutiiq Tribe of Old Harbor, AK was awarded three bison bulls from Yellowstone National Park to improve the genetic diversity of its Sitkalidak Bison Herd. The catch: the bison required transport from Montana to Seattle, from Seattle to Anchorage and from Anchorage to Homer Spit. The final destination required a boat ride to Sitkalidak on Kodiak Island.

"I was informed that on special occasions Lynden Transport may transport livestock," says Cynthia Berns, Vice President of Community Affairs for the Old Harbor Native Corp. "So I called Paul Friese in Anchorage."

Paul Friese, Vice President of Alaska Sales for Lynden Transport, responded to the call with the usual can-do attitude. Gathering all the details, he quickly put the team in motion. Lynden Driver Clay Bonty met the FedEx plane in Anchorage, carefully loaded the special 20-foot container containing the three bison and headed to Homer, AK. "This was a very special project," Paul says. "We were happy to be involved and assist the Alutiiq Tribe."

Buffalo Bulls on landing craft vesselThe container weighed in at 4,500 pounds, plus three bulls at 1,200 pounds each, for a total weight of 8,100 pounds. Once Clay reached Homer, the container was loaded onto a landing craft vessel bound for Sitkalidak Island, pictured right.

The transfer was a historic moment in returning Yellowstone bison to tribal lands. These particular animals are important to tribes because they are the genetically pure descendants of the bison that tribal ancestors lived with. In the case of the Sitkalidak herd, the new bulls will introduce genetic diversity for herd survival. "Our herd is managed to provide food security for our community of 230 residents and tribal members throughout the state," Cynthia explains. "In 2017, DNA testing was conducted on the herd, and it was suggested that we integrate new genes into the herd for long-term health and survival."

The bulls are settled in and doing well. They are outfitted with GPS collars that provide hourly updates on their status. "From trucks, plane and landing craft, these animals have come a long way. A huge thank you to our supporters at Lynden Transport for safely getting the bison to Homer and secured on the vessel for the last leg of their journey."

Five years ago, Lynden was involved in another bison relocation project using Lynden Air Cargo's L-100 cargo plane. Employees spent three days loading 100 wood bison into special containers in Portage, AK for truck transport to Anchorage via Alaska West Express. All 100 animals were loaded in Anchorage and delivered safely in three flights to Shageluk for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Tags: Alaska West Express, Lynden Air Cargo, Lynden Transport, Alaska, Charters, Air, Ground, Multi-Modal, Ocean, Community

New ramp on the job in Juneau

Posted on Fri, Aug 14, 2020

Juneau ramp with Alaska TraderLanding 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.

JNU ramp setting July 4, 2020After 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.

Tags: Alaska, Ocean, AML

Alaska Marine Lines rail barges upgrade ballast systems

Posted on Wed, Aug 05, 2020

Alaska Marine Lines rail barge 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:

Robot removing paint
  • 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."

Tags: Alaska, Ocean, AML

Alaska Marine Lines celebrates 40 years

Posted on Wed, Jul 15, 2020

Alaska Marine Lines celebrates 40 yearsAlaska Marine Lines celebrates its 40th anniversary this year! That is 40 years we've been privileged to serve our amazing customers and local communities, 40 years side-by-side with the most wonderful, hard-working people in the barge industry and 40 years of experience fine tuning our service and reach to offer the largest fleet of equipment in Alaska.

In 1980, Lynden acquired the assets of Southeast Barge Lines from Western Towboat, Trucano Construction and Jim Harper and Southeast Alaska Barge Lines was established. "This began the long and productive partnership between Lynden and Western Towboat that we still enjoy today," explains Alaska Marine Lines President Kevin Anderson.

Two years later, Southeast Alaska Barge Lines was renamed Alaska Marine Lines. In 1985, as Foss Alaska Lines withdrew from Southeast service and Pacific Western Lines curtailed its service, Alaska Marine Lines purchased selected assets from those barge carriers and added many employees who are still with the Lynden companies today including Executive Vice President Alex McKallor. Also that year, service partner Arrowhead Transfer headed by Gordie Harang began providing services to Alaska Marine Lines in Southeast Alaska.

Alaska Marine Lines Presidents over the yearsPictured to the right, Alaska Marine Lines Presidents over the years include, from left: Bill Troy, Alex McKallor, Gail Knapp and current President Kevin Anderson.

Looking back, Kevin says some of the biggest changes have been in equipment. "We've gone from 20' containers to 40's, then 48's and now 53's, and forklifts with a capacity of 55,000 pounds that can now lift 120,000 pounds," he says. "The first barge was 130 feet long with a 1,000-HP tug. Today we have 420-foot barges towed by tugs with 5,000-HP."

In 2019, Alaska Marine Lines expanded its service area to include Arctic villages like Kaktovik to better serve customers statewide and this year has expanded its fleet with the purchase of two cargo barges.

"As we celebrate four decades of business I'd like to honor the dedicated and talented employees, past and present, who have contributed to our success," Kevin says. "We now service every major coastal region in Alaska. I look forward to seeing what the new decade will bring."

Tags: Ocean, AML

North to Alaska, South by Barge: Voyage of a Reefer Tech

Posted on Mon, Jun 29, 2020

AML reefer techs in SeattleEvery 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."

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