TOTE Maritime Alaska News & Media

Spring 2020

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When we put the plan together for 2020, we could never have anticipated a global pandemic would impact us the way it has over the past several weeks. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has tested the resiliency of our country, our supply chains and our ability to adapt. What I am happy to report is that TOTE, our partners, and our customers have met these challenges head-on. Together, we have ensured the safety and wellbeing of our teams, our operations, and our families, while fulfilling our commitment to Alaska and the communities that depend on us.

This was no small feat and is not accomplished by accident. I am incredibly proud of the culture of safety and innovation we have built at TOTE. Our ability to adapt and be proactive when challenges arise comes from a continuous improvement mindset and our commitment to invest in the technology, infrastructure, and relationships that can withstand the unknown and the unforeseen. TOTE, like Alaskans, are used to facing challenges and we see these challenges as opportunities to come out stronger in the end.

As we continue, for now, in this new normal, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation. To our TOTE team, as an essential workforce, your commitment during these challenging times has ensured seamless service to our customers and the communities that depend on us. To our customers and partners, your response and communication during this time, putting measures in place to protect your folks and working with us on our mitigation practices, have been exemplary. I am proud to be your partner for Alaska.

We don’t know what the long-term impacts of the coronavirus will be but, like our ships, TOTE was built to sail challenging waters and will continue to be “Alaska’s shipping company.” Together, I have no doubt we will get through this. As always, thank you for your commitment and partnership.

There is nothing like a public crisis to remind everyone how much they depend on each other, and nowhere does that ring truer than the supply chain. Whether on the road, at the port, or in the office, TOTE and its partners rely on one another to respond quickly to action, no matter what the issue. When the coronavirus pandemic became a public emergency, it took committed efforts from not only TOTE administration, HR, commercial, operations, and vessel crew but also coordinated support and partnership from carriers, longshore, and customers to ensure the safety and resilience of the Alaska supply chain.

At the port, something as simple - but vital - as the nightly safety meeting had to be adjusted and moved outside to maintain social distancing. The operations team worked with the mechanics to ensure every vehicle unit had disinfectant supplies and was wiped down daily. Handwashing and sanitization stations were placed throughout all locations and additional bathrooms were added throughout the port. Though in short supply and often on backorder, PPE ordering and inventory was escalated to meet the demands of maintaining an adequate supply of gloves, masks, and disinfectant solution. To mitigate potential spreading, every action and reaction had to be taken into consideration and cooperation has been key.

Consumer stress buying created by the pandemic resulted in demand the entire country struggled to fill and Alaska was no exception. Once the goods were off the ship, it was up to the dedicated carriers to replenish the quickly stripped shelves of Alaska’s stores.

“We’ve been in constant contact with our partners going over best practices and reviewing possible points of contact throughout the terminal and at customer locations. Everyone has been incredibly dedicated to being as safe as possible in this situation,” said Lisa Peterman, Alaska Customer Service Manager.

As the world begins to settle into this new reality, peace of mind is due to the essential transportation industry that made sure the toilet paper, medicines, and essential goods were safely delivered to Alaska and the communities that depend on them.

The suppliers of Alaska, our customers and friends, have done an amazing job keeping Alaskan’s fed and safe during the Coronavirus pandemic. The TOTE customer service team has been in constant communication with operations and the account executives, tracking changes through our supply line, and we have seen our customers go the extra mile to protect their employees and vendors.

We have been incredibly impressed at our shipper’s ability to react and implement new processes to protect their employees and customers while continuing to operate as essential businesses. From new paperwork and load pickup procedures to dispatching by phone and working from home, we are proud to see our customers doing their part to ensure we all can continue to serve Alaska.

"Our customers have been patient and understanding as we all work through this very fluid situation.  They are providing us with increased communication on a daily basis.  Their great partnerships have allowed us to provide the seamless service that we pride ourselves on.  We truly have the best customers" note Kris Willson, Senior Operation Manager for Customer Service.

In these uncertain times, Alaska has nothing to fear with the dedicated suppliers we have on our ships.