Arctic Directoy 2018: Foss Maritime, pioneering marine transportation for nearly 130 years
Company offers point-to-point marine transportation, marine engineering, shipyard, harbor services, and more
Q. What is the official name of your company?
A. Foss Maritime Company
Q. Is your firm a subsidiary or affiliate of other companies? If so, please name those firms and their relationship to your
A. Foss Maritime Company is wholly owned by Saltchuk Resources, a privately owned family investment company focused on the transportation industries, formed in 1982 and based in the Pacific Northwest. Foss Maritime Company owns three independent subsidiaries: AmNav Maritime Corporation, Cook Inlet Tug & Barge, and Young Brothers Hawaii.
Q. What do you most want people to know about your company?
A. Founded in 1889, Foss Maritime safely delivers harbor services and marine transportation across the globe. From local harbor assists to complex projects in the world’s harshest environments, Foss has the capabilities, resources and expertise to efficiently manage our customers’ toughest challenges. Our full-service shipyard offers naval architecture design services, marine engineering, new construction, retrofitting and repairs. We are committed to constant innovation to safely and responsibly meet the unique needs of our customers.
Q. Where is your company located?
A. Our corporate office and shipyard are located in Seattle, Washington. In addition, we have offices in Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, California, and the U.S. Gulf.
Q. What year was the company founded and by whom?
A. Foss was founded in 1889 by Thea and Andrew Foss in Tacoma, Washington.
Q. What is your company’s primary business activity?
A. Foss owns and operates one of the nation’s largest tug and barge fleets, offering a broad range of green- and blue-water marine services. Foss serves the world’s largest oil and gas companies, international shipping companies and a variety of governmental and nongovernmental agencies. In addition, our Pacific Northwest shipyard provides naval architecture, marine engineering services, new build, owner representation, repairs and maintenance.
Q. Are there important projects the company is currently a part of or has done recently?
A. Foss Maritime is engaged in marine projects of all kinds across the globe, including: Hurricane relief operations in Puerto Rico and other impacted island areas; marine support for the Red Dog Mine in Alaska; assist with operations in the Pacific Area Lightering zone in Southern California; at-sea rescue operations for large commercial vessels; LNG bunkering operations in Jacksonville for the Caribbean trade; marine robotics and underwater ROV operations to assist in vessel inspection and repair; operate the designated Emergency Rescue Towing Vessel in the Strait of Juan de Fuca; tanker and fuel barge assists in multiple ports; and more.
Q. How many employees does your company have?
A. Approximately 1,600.
Q. Describe the equipment your company uses and are there any new equipment purchases planned?
A. Foss has one of the industry’s largest fleets of tugs and barges, with almost more than 80 owned and operated vessels and barges, and more under charter, and extensive capabilities at our shipyard. We continue to move forward on the construction of four new “Kapena Class”, Hawaiian for Captain class, tugs for our Honolulu based subsidiary, Young Brothers, and plans for four new state-of-the art ASD 90 tugs for the Foss Maritime fleet.
Q. Is your company expanding any of its operations
A. We are investing in and expanding on our assets that are designed specifically for the terrain, environmental concerns and needs of Alaskan operations. In addition, we continue to grow and enhance operations at our shipyard, and are expanding our operations in the U.S. Gulf.
Q. Is the company changing any of its services or products?
A. Harbor services, marine transportation, naval architecture and engineering, and shipyard services will remain our core services for the foreseeable future.
Q. What is your company’s main strength or its edge
over the competition?
A. Foss has a long history working in harsh environments, and in remote areas with limited infrastructure, and we are often brought on to find solutions to operational challenges that others may not be able to deliver on. We are stalwart in our commitment to safety and to protecting the environment, and in leading and advancing the industry in these areas. Foss also has extensive experience working in Alaska and the Far North, and is regularly called upon in times of disaster.
Q. What new markets, clients or projects did your company
attract in the last year?
A. Among the new types of work we’ve been engaged in over the past year: We are continuing to expand our reach into the offshore wind industry; we are pioneering LNG bunkering, with a new operation opening in Jacksonville; we have recently partnered with Trailer Bridge to provide regular barge service to Puerto Rico; Foss and Foss subsidiaries are supporting harbor operations for Ocean Network Express in Puget Sound, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
Q. What is the most challenging work/contract the company has undertaken?
A. Every job has its own challenges and opportunities, though working in the Alaskan far north can have its own set of unique circumstances. From ice filled waters, unpredictable weather, freezing temperatures, and an ever-changing landscape. To successfully deliver in this, and in other harsh waters, it is vital that we operate state-of-the-art vessels that can withstand the environment, while also caring for it; build smart and skilled teams; and maintain a deep familiarity with the regions and the people that live and work there.
Q. What do you see as your company’s biggest challenge in the next five years?
A. The industry continues to change. To stay ahead and be competitive Foss must continually find new ways to innovate and improve our service offerings, to be flexible in our corporate business model while maintaining strong roots in the communities in which we operate, and in having the infrastructure in place to take on any challenge.
Q. Does your company have an anniversary or other
landmark event coming up?
A. This year marks our 130th year in operation.
Q. What is the average length of time employee’s work for the company?
A. Currently, the average length of employment is 10 plus years. We have hundreds of employees who have been with us for more than a decade, and the longest tenure is more than 40 years.
Q. What is your company’s safety record? What steps does the company take to ensure a safe work environment?
A. Foss Maritime’s safety program leads the industry with a company-wide zero incident safety culture. Our safety program is built on a sophisticated behavior-based focus, with robust health, safety and compliance programs. We provide frequent reports on job safety analyses, near misses and safety observations that are being reported each day. We have multiple committees that provide support, and we continually review and discuss notable near misses and observations, safety alerts and safety bulletins.
Q. Has your company been involved in any community projects or charity events?
A. Foss Maritime Company has a long-standing commitment of giving back to our surrounding communities. Our corporate giving program is designed to honor our corporate responsibility as an employer to make contributions back to the communities in which we operate and live. We support local organizations through several means: corporate charitable contributions, volunteer activities, in-kind giving and matching gift contributions.
Foss sponsors many local events, schools, and job fairs, and participates annually in charitable events. Foss employees are encouraged to become involved in their communities, and often use the same skills they use at Foss to help charitable groups. Outside of work many contribute their sweat, time and funds to a variety of causes, including: the arts; community organizations; education; the environment; conservation; animal welfare; public health and youth in maritime.
We are also very proud to sponsor members of the US Winter Olympic team from Alaska, including US National Champion skier Sadie Bjornsen.
Q. What is the address of your company’s Web site?