View from the cockpit, left to right: Hudson Bay, Canada, the Niger River, Niamey, and Tabubil, Papua New Guinea.
A Lynden Air Cargo crew completed a full circle of the globe in under two weeks in February. "This doesn't often happen in our fleet, but it's a testament to how much of the globe we can cover in a short period with one crew," says Dan Marshall, Charter Manager. "It was no small task with all of the COVID-19 restrictions on top of typical logistical challenges that had to be overcome with each country. It makes this an extra special accomplishment."
Captain James Wallace was joined by Mason Gaines, Jimmie Mizell, Ronald Pine and James Love for the noteworthy flights. The trip began in Kelowna, B.C. after installing external fuel tanks used for longer Trans-Pacific flights. From Kelowna, the crew flew to Maui, HI and from there to Nauru, a tiny country in Micronesia, followed by Brisbane, Australia, to Tabubil, Papua New Guinea (PNG), to Port Moresby, PNG, to Darwin, Australia, to Bali, Indonesia, to Gan, Maldives, to Entebbe, Uganda, to Niamey, Niger, to Las Palmas, Gran Canaries, Spain, to Bangor, Maine, and the crew made its last stop in Anchorage. The "live leg" for the flight was from Brisbane to Tabubil, PNG to transport a critical switchgear to replace one that had shut down the Ok Tedi Gold Mine. The gear was too tall to fit in any other aircraft capable of landing at the remote runway there. The flight gave the Lynden crew the opportunity to swap out an aircraft that was due for a heavy maintenance check in Niamey, Niger.
"Our customer helped us obtain landing permissions on Nauru for a tech stop between Hawaii and Brisbane," Dan explains. "All of our normal airports denied entry due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. Captain Wallace and his crew overcame so many hurdles with pandemic restrictions, including hotel lockdowns, to deliver a challenging load to a very remote destination in PNG."
The Lynden flight operations and crew operations teams found unique solutions, always staying ahead of the aircraft with hotels, catering, fuel, and anything else they needed to keep pushing forward. The maintenance team provided the critical external tank installation in less than 24 hours in Kelowna to maintain the initial schedule as close as possible. "This is the first time in recent memory that a single crew has fully circumnavigated the globe with our own aircraft," Dan says. "In addition to the flight crew, our operations and maintenance production teams got all the pieces to fall together to make this trip successful."
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View from the cockpit, left to right: Hudson Bay, Canada, the Niger River, Niamey, and Tabubil, Papua New Guinea.
"This was some of the largest and heaviest equipment ever moved by Lynden Air Cargo," says Charter Manager Dave Beach. Lynden assisted DeBeers and Priestly Demolition, Inc. in their Victor Mine decommission and remediation project by flying oversized equipment out of Timmins, Ontario, to remote sites in Canada to ease the burden on the winter ice road.
"It was a team effort due to the size and complexity of the cargo. It required multiple trips to assist in the preparation and two of our most experienced Loadmasters, Leo Lopez and Matt Hise, on the job during the 16-day project," Dave explains. "The flight crew was exceptional, completing flights in difficult fall weather conditions in northern Canada. This equipment was some of the largest we have hauled in this quantity to date. Normally there are one or two pieces required to a location. This was several pieces over 17 flights, with very little margin for error due the sheer size and weight."
Lynden has worked with DeBeers out of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories since 2006, but this is the first project outside of that yearly work. "Both DeBeers and Priestly Demolition expressed their admiration at the professionalism of Lynden's crews and operations department. "We will likely see much more work with both of these groups in the years to come," Dave says.
“When people of diverse cultures are beating together around a thundering seven-foot heartbeat, they get it,” explains Drumkeeper White Eagle Medicine Woman. “They remember who they are and what is really important – caring, sharing and respecting one another. Grandmother Drum is absolutely contagious!”
White Eagle Medicine Woman (Suraj Holzwarth) and the Grandmother Drum Ensemble have traveled a half million miles through 15 countries over the last decade drumming up support for world peace, tribal unity, reconciliation and earth sustainability. Lynden International has played a vital part in the Grandmother Drum International Peace Project by making sure the seven-foot, 1,660-pound crystal inlaid drum and over 1,000 pounds of performance equipment arrives safely and on time from one international stop to the next.
Grandmother Drum is the largest healing drum of its kind in the world. “We’ve been moving this drum and handling customs for The Whirling Rainbow Foundation for several years,” says Licensed Customs Broker Keith Hall of Lynden International in Anchorage. “The drum was made in Alaska in 2001 and is used in ceremonies to promote world peace and understanding. We’ve moved it via air and ocean to and from California, Hawaii, Peru, the U.K., Israel, Australia and Austria. The drum recently toured eight countries in Europe, launching from Anchorage to the U.K. and returning via Vienna, Austria, which is where we arranged the cargo flights. Grandmother Drum had to be back in Homer, AK from Austria for an event on June 21.”
The main challenge, Keith explains, is ensuring the drum clears customs and is delivered to its destination on time since the Foundation has performances set up months ahead of time. “The drum is the main event so it’s absolutely critical that it arrives when needed. Additionally, this drum is huge and has a great deal of ceremonial value; it must be kept safe,” he says. “We move it in a large custom-built crate.”
The Whirling Rainbow Foundation is an international spiritual and educational non-profit organization. “We are very happy and in deep gratitude that Grandmother Drum arrived home to Alaska safely once again from her amazing 2013-2014 World Tours,” says White Eagle. “We picked her up from the Lynden warehouse in Anchorage and headed home to Homer. Please know each time she is freighted, we have people praying worldwide for her safe care. We appreciate working with Lynden to get our sacred drum safely around the world.”
For the second consecutive year, Toyota named Lynden Transport its Small/Support Carrier of the Year. Lynden was selected from 78 other carriers for providing excellent service in shipping Toyota parts throughout North America. “I am very proud of our team,” says Regional Sales Manager Bill Johansen. “This is a great accomplishment – especially two years in a row.”
Bill Johansen (center) with Nancy Greenburg and Jason Chappell of Toyota.
“Through rain, snow, sleet, ice, high seas and occasional landslides and floods, this carrier makes the deliveries, on time and with near zero damage,” reads Lynden’s nomination from Toyota. “They provide great account management, operational support and communication. They work in precision with our shipping facilities and supporting logistics providers. To them, this level of service is nothing special; it’s just part of being a member of the team.”
Lynden Transport recently moved 14 vehicles from Fort Richardson to Fort Greely, AK, on short notice to support the training and deployment of a bomb disposal unit to Afghanistan. “We were contacted two days before the move was to take place and because of the short timeline, weights and dimensions couldn’t be verified. We were also dealing with road restrictions,” explains Michael Forsythe, Account Manager at Lynden Transport in Anchorage. “We enlisted the aid of our sister company Alaska West Express for two of the loads.”
On load-out day, the Lynden team discovered the weights and dimensions did not include the attachments on the vehicles. “This presented major challenges with weight restrictions,” Michael says. “We scrambled to get the correct equipment on very short notice, and Alaska West Express ended up round-tripping the team they sent down from Fairbanks. If it wasn’t for the experience and professionalism of the team we assembled, I doubt this could’ve been pulled off.”
Above: Driver Brian Azmus with one of the loads.
Lynden International Business Development Manager Ken Davis is fond of telling customers “Never walk away from a project. There is always someone that can help.” That someone is usually Lynden. Ken and Sheila Culwell at the Boston office and LaDonna Blackwell in Houston stepped in to help an Iowa manufacturer with an oversized international shipment.
"They had gone to other transportation companies and they just couldn’t produce the results,” Ken says. The customer needed to move a huge mold to their plant in China from the Iowa facility. “With our experience moving oil equipment of odd sizes I knew we had the knowledge and contacts to get the job done,” Ken explains. “The crate was 132-feet-long and weighed 20,000 pounds. That meant a special flatbed trailer with permits and routes mapped out. That is not something that you normally drive through a city!”
Ken and LaDonna mapped out the route, picked up the shipment in Iowa and trucked it to the Port of Houston where it was loaded onto a breakbulk carrier into Taicang, China. The ship sailed in April and the mold arrived in Shanghai in May.
Lynden’s International Projects Team moves a variety of cargo to offshore rig platforms – even lifeboats. Last year, Sakhalin Energy Investment Company (SEIC) needed two lifeboats delivered to the Molikpaq Drilling Platform off the coast of Sakhalin. Alexander Pershanin, Logistics Supervisor of Lynden’s Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk office AmRusTrans, was asked to provide pricing and a logistics plan to move the boats from Poland and additional gear from Germany to the rig base.
“SEIC wanted both lifeboats flown to Sakhalin and the only aircraft that could handle the full load was an Antonov-124,” explains LaDonna Blackwell, Director of Global Projects for Lynden International in Houston. “It was more cost effective to consolidate the cargo from both locations in Warsaw. Because of airport equipment and runway limitations, special permissions were required ahead of time to land the AN-124 in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.”
To add to the challenge, the lifeboats were needed within a week. “The lifeboats were ready on April 30, but had to be at Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and customs cleared before May 6,” Alexander says. “Poland was celebrating a holiday on May 3 and Russia from May 7– 9, so we had a very tight window to load and receive the cargo. The manufacturers allowed us to load on April 29 which gave us the weekend to make the two-day trip to Warsaw.”
The plan was for the aircraft to make one stop in Moscow and then proceed to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. The plane arrived in Sakhalin the morning of May 5, right on time. After offloading and clearance, the lifeboats were delivered to the Kholmsk Shore Base for ocean transport to the drilling platform (see photo above).
According to Alexander, Lynden partner Maurice Ward was a valuable asset with the trucking, customs clearance and communication with the boarding agents. Lynden International has two offices in Russia operating as AmRusTrans; one in Moscow and the second in the Russian Far East on Sakhalin Island.
The Lynden family of companies was chosen as one of the Top 100 third-party logistics service providers (3PLs) by editors of Inbound Logistics magazine. Editors selected the companies from hundreds of contenders, choosing only those that offer the diverse operational capabilities and experience to meet readers' unique supply chain and logistics needs.
Inbound Logistics' Top 100 3PL Providers list serves as a qualitative assessment of service providers. Each year, editors solicit questionnaires from more than 400 3PLs, detailing the services they provide and their areas of expertise. The magazine also polls more than 5,000 3PL users with a similar series of questions to provide a counter-perspective of the forces shaping the industry.
"Whatever the company size – from Fortune 500 to small businesses – world-class logistics performance is crucial. It is impressive to see Lynden providing the kinds of solutions that companies large and small rely on to solve the tactical logistics issues of serving customers better, faster and more efficiently," says Felicia Stratton, Editor of Inbound Logistics magazine.
Lynden's logistical solutions range from remote arctic projects in the most difficult conditions to operating a national pharmaceutical warehouse network and supply chain to hospitals. Its multi-modal operations and familiarity with customers' materials is a distinct advantage in designing systems for the efficient flow and storage of material and information. Lynden's system designs include state-of-the-art technologies and processes that have passed SAS 70 standards, and its dedicated truck, marine sealift and air cargo capabilities are put to use in remote areas such as Alaska, Russia and Canada for a variety of customer projects.
"With our family of transportation and logistics companies, we offer global multi-modal services that set us apart from other 3PLs. Our inclusion on the Top 100 list underscores our unique position," says Alex McKallor, Lynden's Executive Vice President of Operations. "We measure our success by the success of our customers. Our logistics partnerships are based on open communications and an innovative approach to solving the most difficult logistical challenges. "
Inbound Logistics is the leading trade magazine targeted toward business logistics and supply chain managers. The magazine's editorial mission is to help companies of all sizes better manage corporate resources by speeding and reducing inventory and supporting infrastructure and better matching demand signals to supply lines.
Dave Coles squints into the Arizona sun as he watches a crane operator attach straps to a 40-foot Hapag-Lloyd container. With a whine, the crane’s boom slowly lifts the 18,000-pound box off the ground, pivots and carefully places it onto a waiting lowboy trailer. Visible just above the container’s rim are the undulating shapes of “Warrior” and “Octopus.” Part of the Strange Creatures collection created by internationally known artist Rotraut, the oversized aluminum sculptures are two of seven bound for the port of Los Angeles where they will be loaded onto a ship sailing for Fos Sur Mer, France.
Coles double-checks the container as it is secured for the 375-mile truck trip from Pleasant Valley, AZ to the California coast. It’s been six hours of precise loading – sculptures into container and then container onto trailer. Finally, the truck driver pulls away from the parking lot into the residential neighborhood and disappears around the corner.
“These moves are always nerve-wracking due to the irreplaceable nature of the cargo,” he explains. Coles manages Lynden International’s Phoenix office and he says this project took eight weeks of advance planning. “We knew it would be challenging when we went to the studio to measure the sculptures and realized they wouldn’t fit neatly into a regular ocean container. Due to their irregular shape, we had to use an Open-Top container and cover the over-height sculptures with a tarp to protect them as they made their way west.”
The one-of-a-kind sculptures are just some of the many types of art Lynden International moves for Scottsdale art studio Tete A Tete. The studio and its Director Manuel Luiz count on Lynden’s care and attention to detail. “We have worked with Lynden for more than 10 years,” Luiz says. “They have done very well and given us peace of mind in shipping our art all over the world.” With art moves, the standards are high – and exacting.
“The artists want what they want. The sculptures and paintings are their babies, and we must treat them accordingly,” says Phoenix Sales Manager Paul Till. “The ocean shipment of the sculptures could’ve been handled in a variety of ways, including loading the pieces onto a flatbed and containerizing them at the LA port, but they wanted to load the pieces into the container themselves at precisely 8 a.m. at the studio.”
The studio’s request for an Open-Top container had Lynden staff scrambling to locate one at a rail yard and transport it from Los Angeles to Phoenix by the load date. But as Till explains, “It’s not always about what’s easiest or the most expeditious. It’s about listening to the customer and making it work for them.”
The paintings and sculptures Lynden ships to France, Switzerland and other locales for Tete A Tete are often valued from $50,000 to $200,000 each and the shipments require detailed knowledge of customs rules and regulations. “We are true experts at export and import documentation,” Coles says. “On occasion we have shipped art on a temporary basis for exhibition and arranged for the studio to avoid paying duty tax when the art comes back into the U.S. Those charges can sometimes be as much as $2,000, so our knowledge and experience is an added value for our customers.”
When it comes to choosing ocean or air, many art studios and artists select ocean for shipping heavy, oversized sculptures or multi-media work. And in the past few years, more customers are exploring ocean transport for economic reasons. Lynden offers specialized service and assistance for those new and returning ocean customers. “They can depend on us to take care of it – we will walk them through it and explain everything,” Coles explains. “We take a lot of steps and precautions to anticipate things that may happen, and we use carriers we know and trust.”
Tete A Tete isn’t Lynden’s only ocean customer, but the art studio certainly puts the staff through its paces and provides a unique showcase for the multi-modal transportation capabilities of the company. “They throw a lot of challenges our way; a lot of outside-the-box stuff, but we actually look forward to it,” Coles says. “Sometimes it requires finding new resources that we aren’t used to, but we start talking to people and beating the bushes, and we always manage to make it work. Isn’t that Lynden’s motto? We make the impossible possible.”
After reviewing the performance of all transportation carriers it uses in the U.S., Toyota gave Lynden Transport the highest marks and named the company its Small/Support Logistics Partner of 2010. For more than a decade, Lynden Transport has handled the weekly shipping of Toyota parts from its Fife, WA service center to dealers in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau.
Photo: From left, Bill Johansen of Lynden Transport with Nancy Greenburg and Jason Chappell of Toyota.
“Lynden's ocean service remains unmatched in the industry. No other carrier is able to provide the same level of damage-free, on-time deliveries while maintaining outstanding customer service,” says Nancy Greenburg, Logistics Coordinator for Toyota. “We enjoy the business partnership we have built with Lynden over the years and look forward to many successful years to come.” Lynden is only the second carrier from the Toyota Portland distribution center ever selected for a national award. The award evaluation was based on the following criteria: cost/efficiency, invoicing, account management, safety, quality, damage, on time performance, equipment, manpower availability and process improvements.
“This award is a tribute to our operations and customer service teams for their day-to-day contributions,” says Lynden Transport Regional Sales Manager Bill Johansen. “We were very excited to receive this recognition.”