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Vol. 19, No. 34 Week of August 24, 2014
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

AK-WA Connection 2014: Saltchuk companies net diverse honors

White House, others tout members of transportation family for uncommon ethics, being change catalysts and strong community support

Rose Ragsdale

Alaska-Washington Connection

The Saltchuk family of companies have racked up prestigious local, national and international honors in recent years, including Saltchuk’s designation in March as a “2014 World’s Most Ethical Company” by the Ethisphere Institute, an independent center of research promoting best practices in corporate ethics and governance.

This is the first time that Saltchuk has been considered for this award, which recognizes organizations that continue to raise the bar on ethical leadership and corporate behavior. Of the 144 honorees worldwide, Saltchuk is one of only three companies in the transportation & logistics industry recognized this year.

“The more than 6,500 employees of Saltchuk companies deserve the real honors,” said Saltchuk Chairman Mark Tabbutt in accepting the award. “They live our values each day and take to heart that that the communities and customers we serve rely on us. A culture of ethics requires each employee make a personal commitment to live up to our organizational standards,” he added.

Sea change at TOTE

In May, TOTE Inc. President & CEO Anthony Chiarello was honored, along with 10 other individuals, by the White House as 2014 transportation industry “Champions of Change.” Chiarello, a fourth-generation member of the shipping and logistics industry, was chosen for his role in leading the U.S. maritime industry toward natural gas as fuel.

TOTE is building the first natural gas-powered container ships in the world to serve Puerto Rico and is converting its ships in Alaska to natural gas; TOTE is the first shipping company in the United States to convert its fleet to liquefied natural gas.

Construction of TOTE Inc.’s new Marlin Class, the first LNG-powered containership in the world, began at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego in February.

The ship, considered the most advanced, environmentally progressive vessel of its kind, represent the first of a $350 million U.S. investment that will create 600 American shipyard jobs.

The Marlin class vessels mark a new age in American shipbuilding.

“The move to LNG fuel is no less significant than the evolution from sail to steam,” said Tabbutt. “The Marlins represents the start of a new age in American maritime.”

TOTE’s back-to-back announcements in 2012 - converting its existing RO/RO fleet in Alaska and investing in new containerships for the Puerto Rico trade, began what can only be described as a change of tide in the U.S. maritime industry toward LNG as the new maritime fuel.

In a post he prepared for the White House “Champions of Change” blog, Chiarello wrote: “As a Jones Act domestic carrier, we’re uniquely positioned to create real change in the supply conundrum - availability of fuel is a big hurdle for most transportation sectors to change over to clean-burning natural gas.”

Creating a fuel demand

Chiarello explained that TOTE’s regular service routes create enough of a steady demand to entice fuel partners to build liquefaction plants in its ports of call, thus making LNG supply available to others in those markets. Supply in Jacksonville, Florida, and Tacoma, Washington, will serve the Southeast and Pacific Northwest with natural gas that can be used for ships, trucks and rail.

TOTE announced plans to convert its fleet to natural gas in 2012. Since then, natural gas suppliers have begun creating distribution networks in major U.S. ports, making gas available to all transportation modes in those markets. Natural gas-powered ships will achieve emissions reductions far below even the world’s most stringent regulatory standards. These emissions reductions will have long-lasting and far-reaching positive effects on the health and safety of citizens along the U.S. coastline - particularly in Washington, Alaska, Florida and Puerto Rico, where TOTE ships are part of the critical domestic supply chain. As the adoption of natural gas fuel spreads, air emissions will be lowered along the coastline as part of the North American Emissions Control Area, and additional environmental benefits will accrue in ports, and on roads and rail lines.

“It is an honor to stand among the 2014 Transportation Champions of Change representing TOTE and Saltchuk,” Chiarello continued. “My colleagues and I are proud of our investments into new technology as a reflection of our commitment to the people and customers of Alaska and Puerto Rico. We’re equally pleased to help move the U.S. toward natural gas as a marine transportation fuel while providing the most advanced, safe, reliable service possible.”

Hall of Fame inducts NAC

Iron Dog Inc., the world’s longest, toughest snowmobile race, inducted Anchorage-based Northern Air Cargo into the Iron Dog Hall of Fame in 2013. NAC has sponsored Iron Dog since the first race was held in 1984 and the induction of a corporate sponsor was a first for the organization.

“Over the years, hundreds of racers and thousands of volunteers have participated in the Iron Dog and helped to make it grow. We have honored a few of these folks by inducting them into our Hall of Fame. We’ve never honored a company before, but we recognize that without the help and support of Northern Air Cargo, this race would not exist,” Iron Dog President Jim Wilke said in announcing the honor.

“The Northern Air Cargo family is pleased to be a long-time sponsor of Iron Dog. We are greatly honored to be inducted into the Iron Dog Hall of Fame and recognized for our contribution to the success and longevity of the race. We look forward to a continued partnership for many years to come,” said Blake Arrington, NAC’s marketing manager.

Other Saltchuk companies include Carlile Transportation Systems, Delta Western, Inlet Petroleum and Cook Inlet Tug & Barge.

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