As we close out the second quarter and begin our mid-year review, we can safely say that it has been an incredibly busy year for shipping to Alaska. I know our team has been working diligently to keep up with demand and our customers have been doing an incredible job balancing the needs of the Alaska market.
June was also National Safety Month, and I am proud to report that we’ve had one recordable incident this year for both operations in Tacoma and Anchorage. I don’t believe it’s wise to boast on these numbers too much, but everyone working within and around our operations deserves recognition for their commitment to safety in what has been a busy year so far.
This past month we also held two events that are available to view. If you missed the Customer Town Hall, with a special visit from the new Anchorage Mayor, Dave Bronson; or the Stand Down for Safety event, you can view the videos in this ORCA Report.
As we look ahead to a bustling second half of the year, I want to thank everyone for their hard work and commitment to serving Alaska. This is, and always has been, a partnership and we will continue to provide the best possible experience to our customers, partners, and team.
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!
Grace Greene | President
TOTE Maritime Alaska
The LNG Conversion Team continues to make great strides with a plan of having the first Orca (Midnight Sun) fully operational on LNG in Q1 2022.
A big milestone completed at the end of last year was the cold testing of the cryogenic piping on the Midnight Sun. The team used liquified nitrogen to safely cool down the newly installed LNG piping to -265 degrees F. This successful test means that the piping and tanks will be ready to take on LNG and properly handle the cold temperatures.
The focus this year is on the spring/summer riding work to prepare for the shipyard period that will start in December 2021. This work includes conversion of three (3) engines (two for Midnight Sun and one for North Star) and additional system installations that can be safely done underway. The engine conversions consist of riding crews that are breaking down one engine on each ship at a time, rebuilding them, and completing performance testing before they are put back into service. The first engine is on plan to be completed at the beginning of July. In the end about 80% of each engine will consist of new parts that will allow it to burn clean natural gas.
Overall, the team has done an excellent job managing through the challenges that COVID has brought and ensuring safety is at the forefront. We are all looking forward to next year when TOTE makes history with the first ship to be converted to LNG and the second to follow in Q1 2023.
As we look back on the first half of the year, it is clear there was more freight destined for Alaska than initially forecasted. Overall steamship tonnage through the Port of Alaska (POA) in Anchorage is up significantly in 2021. Much of this increase in ocean cargo can be attributed to the large amounts of federal dollars that have been allocated to the state of Alaska. The CARES Act sent over $1.5 billion to Alaska in mid-2020 and the American Rescue Plan Act added another $1 billion to the Alaskan economy in early 2021. These two massive federal spending initiatives have in fact helped stimulate the movement of goods into the state.
Another notable factor has been the closure of the US-Canada border to non-essential travel for over 15 months now. All indications are that the border will not completely open again until late fall 2021 or even early 2022. With portions of the supply chain still backed up and the easing of COVID restrictions, demand for a variety of goods has increased. Despite a loss of cruise tourism, Alaska travel industry experts expect an influx of independent tourists this year.
At TOTE, we anticipate full ships this peak season as summer projects in Alaska get underway and the impacts of COVID are less prevalent. We look forward to partnering with you now and in the future as we navigate these unique market conditions.
Join TOTE for the 2021 Stand Down for Safety event, recognizing the extraordinary work of the team, partners, and customers this year.
If you missed the TOTE Alaska Customer Town Hall with Doug Vincent-Lange Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner and Mayor Elect Dave Bronson.
by Milena Sevigny & Anissa Stella
Giving back to the community has been a part of TOTE’s culture since the beginning. The mission of TOTE Maritime Alaska’s Giving Program is to work with local partners to improve the community while serving as a catalyst for TOTE employees to become involved. TOTE contributes to the communities we serve through charitable contributions, in-kind shipping, event sponsorships and volunteerism. We are also proud to offer a robust matching and volunteer grant program for our employees.
Employee involvement in the community is at the heart of our Giving Program. As such, employees are rewarded through our matching and volunteer grant programs offering up to $1,000 per year donated on their behalf. Employees who embrace special interest to one of our non-profit partners or community projects can feel even more proud of their efforts knowing TOTE supports their programs of choice and admires their time and volunteer commitments.
TOTE has received numerous recognitions including Volunteer of the Year from Emergency Food Network’s Adopt A Row Project. Colleagues have embraced community projects like Rebuilding Together South Sound and fundraising events like the Lupus Walk, and American Heart Association Heart Walks. With a workforce that is engaged in the community, TOTE has tripled the amount of money it has donated to causes our employees care since 2016.
To streamline our Giving Program, TOTE uses GivingTrax, an online grant management system, to manage charitable contribution, event sponsorship as employee matching and volunteer grant requests. To submit an application for support of an organization you are passionate about, please visit www.givingtrax.com/giving/tote-maritime-alaska or connect with Milena Sevigny or Anissa Stella.
Meet Teddy Pease, the Senior Marketing and Operations Analyst at TOTE Alaska. Teddy is also a chef, foodie, and whiskey connoisseur, who has perfected the art of unique Alaskan cuisine.
We're excited to bring Teddy's custom recipes to your table. Click the images below for a downloadable recipe card and enjoy!
If you're looking for some fresh seafood for this recipe, contact Michael Schoeler (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mike Arnold (email@example.com) and they can get you connected with one of our amazing seafood customers.
Chris Boldt, Maintenance and Claims Manager in Tacoma, will be retiring in July after 28 exceptional years at TOTE.
Chris began as a Part's Clerk in 1993 and held a number of positions in the parts department before becoming Maintenance and Claims Manager in 2018.
Chris is known for his cool-head and calm demeanor, always being ready to give a hand and help find a solution.
Thank you to Chris for your skills, expertise, and dedication the past 28 years! You will be missed.
Darcie Medina, Accounting Services Manager has accepted the responsibility of expanding her scope to include Payroll for all TOTE companies.
Those that have worked with Darcie know she is a key contributor and has played a vital role in Continuous Improvement efforts throughout TOTE. Darcie will continue to manage the Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable departments in addition to Payroll.
Please join us in congratulating Darcie on her well-deserved promotion.