Stay Current with Saltchuk

At Saltchuk we’re proud of the positive impact our companies are making in their respective industries and communities. Regular updates will be posted here. Media Inquiries? Contact Emily Reiter at   Saltchuk Magazine

Phase 1 of TOTE Maritime Conversion to LNG Complete

February 27, 2018

LNG tanks and critical engine updates completed during initial phase of four year process

Federal Way, WA – TOTE Maritime Alaska has completed the first of four conversion periods for the Orca class vessels, a process which will enable the ships to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel.  TOTE Maritime’s North Star arrived in Anchorage yesterday, completing her first voyage after being outfitted with two LNG tanks immediately behind the ship’s bridge.

In addition to the LNG tanks and accompanying infrastructure, the ship received critical engine updates necessary to utilize LNG as a fuel and underwent a standard regulatory dry-dock.

TOTE Maritime was the first maritime shipping company in the world to announce its intention to convert their fleet, enabling the engines to use both LNG and diesel.

This conversion will drastically reduce air emissions from TOTE Maritime’s Alaska ships, virtually eliminating sulfur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter while drastically reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide. Reduced emissions will result in a healthier environment for Tacoma, WA, Puget Sound and Anchorage, AK, the communities in which TOTE Maritime operates.

“We are excited to be the first shipping company in the United States to undertake this important environmental effort” noted Mike Noone, President of TOTE Maritime Alaska. “And we are appreciative of our customers and partners who support our ongoing effort to innovate in ways that reflect our commitment to the environment and communities we serve.”

Over the next four years, three more conversion periods will be required to finalize the transition of TOTE Maritime Alaska’s vessels to LNG to LNG. Each of these conversion periods will take place in the winter to minimize the impact to customers and consumers alike. The conversion of both ships is scheduled to be complete in Q1 of 2021.


New leadership to energize Delta Western and Hawaii Petroleum companies for Saltchuk

February 22, 2018


Seattle, Wash. – On January 2, 2018, Bert Valdman became the President & CEO of North Star Petroleum­, Saltchuk’s energy distribution line of business.

Valdman brings a wealth of experience in the energy sector to the Saltchuk family of companies, most recently serving as the President & CEO of Optimum Energy, the leading provider of data-driven cooling and heating optimization solutions for enterprise facilities. Prior to joining Optimum Energy he was the Chief Strategy Officer of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, one of the largest electric utilities in the country. Prior to Edison, he was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Puget Sound Energy where he was responsible for regulated electric and natural gas distribution operations, as well as the Customer Service, Information Technology, and Community Affairs functions. He also served as Puget Energy’s Chief Financial Officer from 2003 through 2007.

Already very familiar with the Saltchuk family of companies, Valdman served on the Saltchuk Board of Directors since April 2015.

“We are thrilled we were successful in our efforts to move Bert from being a member of the Board to a senior leader within the Saltchuk family of companies,” said Tim Engle, President of Saltchuk. “We are continually impressed by his input and look forward to working with him to grow this sector of our companies.”

North Star Petroleum oversees leading petroleum and lubricant distribution companies Delta Western Petroleum in Alaska and Hawaii Petroleum – Ohana Fuels, Minit Stop and HFN – in Hawaii. Valdman is based in the company’s headquarters in Seattle, Washington.

“Our companies provide critical services to the communities that our more than 500 employees live and work in. I’m looking forward to spending time across our operations and working with our teams to continue to deepen and develop our businesses in Hawaii, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest,” said Valdman.

Valdman earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Northwestern University, as well as masters and doctoral degrees from Stanford University. He serves on the board of Lakeside School and has served as a member of the board of trustees for Overlake Hospital, Puget Sound Blood Center and Pacific Northwest Ballet.




Foss Maritime Arrives in Puerto Rico with Hundreds of Utility Trucks to Help Restore Power Grid

January 29, 2018

SEATTLE, Wash., – Foss arrived this week at the Port of Ponce in Puerto Rico with seven barges loaded with 498 utility trucks as part of the on-going effort to restore power to the island. Offloading of the vessels is underway.

The shipment, from a coalition of 19 U.S. electric companies, included bucket trucks, line trucks, pickups, aerial lifts, CAT skid-steer loaders, digger derricks, and pull trailers. More than 1,000 line workers and other personnel from participating electric companies have flown in to meet the trucks and start work supporting the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to restore power.

Foss made the voyage from the Port of Virginia in Norfolk and the Port of Lake Charles in Louisiana to Ponce, Puerto Rico safely, in under two weeks, with five barges and two ocean-going tugs.

“It’s been an amazing collaboration between Foss and the utility companies to help restore the power grid in Puerto Rico,” said Capt. Peter Roney, Project Manager for Foss, “A lot of people are still without power, so we’re glad that we have the crews and vessels at the ready to help deliver these much needed resources to the island.”

In addition to the company’s latest project shipping utility trucks, Foss has been working in conjunction with Government agencies in support of relief and rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for several months.

Under contract with FEMA, Foss arrived at the island on October 19, 2017 with three accommodation vessels, an ocean-going tug and more than 100 personnel, to provide warm meals and “floating hotels” for hundreds of first responders, including workers from the U.S. Department of Defense, FEMA and AmeriCorps. The company has also been contracted shipped a load of power equipment and three loads of water to the island.

Foss vessels remain in the region to assist as needed through continuing recovery efforts.

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Photos by Alvin Toro. 

TOTE Update on Hawai’i Plans

January 26, 2018

Updates required at Hawai’i Terminals would prevent TOTE from entering Hawai’i trade in 2020/2021

Honolulu, HI – TOTE announced today that its plans to enter the Hawai’ian to mainland service are on hold as a result of its Phase 1 technical review of Piers 1 and 2 in Honolulu Harbor.

In September 2017, the Hawai’i Department of Transportation earmarked for TOTE access to Honolulu Piers 1 and 2 and exclusive use of the adjacent 45 acres beginning in 2020, to coincide with TOTE’s new service to Hawai’i. TOTE subsequently conducted a preliminary study of the site’s infrastructure which indicated that upgrades and improvements will be required to accommodate the new operations.

Due to the scope and timing of the ugrades and improvements, TOTE will not renew the letter of intent (LOI) with Philly Shipyard that expires on January 31, 2018.

TOTE continues to be open to working with the Hawai’i Department of Transportation to update plans and a timeline for access to a Honolulu deep water terminal that would allow commencement of TOTE’s service to Hawai’i.

TOTE remains committed to being a leader in the U.S. shipping industry and seeking new ways to innovate while ensuring customer service that meets the needs of its clients and the communities it serves.

Foss Announces New Chief Financial Officer

January 12, 2018

New leader brings years of experience to role

SEATTLE-  Bryceon Sumner has joined Foss Maritime as Chief Financial Officer. In his new role at Foss, Sumner will oversee all aspects of the organization’s financial function and performance with an eye toward the company’s long-range strategic goals.

Sumner brings to the role years of experience as a leader in creating smart, straightforward financial strategies for a number of organizations ranging from education technology and real estate, to architecture and financial services.

“Bryceon is a strategic leader with a track record of successfully leading companies’ financial functions through periods of growth and change,” said John Parrott, President and CEO of Foss Maritime. “His financial leadership experience will be a key component of Foss’ success as we continue forward and grow our service lines.”

Prior to joining Foss, Sumner served as COO and CFO for public and private companies, family offices and as a senior financial officer of a $60 billion government banking insurance fund. Most recently, he was Chief Financial Officer of Academic Partnerships, a Dallas-based educational technology provider focused on developing online classroom tools for nonprofit colleges and universities.

Sumner’s strong background and expertise in the areas of corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, strategic planning, operations and as a certified public accountant has helped provide valuable leadership and support to many companies and boards. He began his career at Ernst & Young working on several IPOs, including a banking tech IPO that was later sold for $3.9 billion.

“I’m thrilled to join Foss in this CFO role and I think my experience in a number of different industries will bring a unique perspective to Foss,” said Sumner. “The maritime industry is fascinating to me and I’m looking forward to learning and growing with the knowledgeable leaders at Foss, to help strengthen our finances and support the important work we are doing.”

Sumner graduated from the University of Georgia with a BBA in accounting and the University of Texas at Austin with an MPA in accounting.