Alaska Air Cargo

Lynden International

Laura Sanders
Laura Sanders, Vice President Operations, Lynden International

Lynden International is a full-service domestic and international freight forwarder with more than 50 offices worldwide. We talked to Laura about how Lynden and Alaska Air Cargo work together.

What is your role at Lynden?
My primary role is carrier management and relations as it relates to domestic line hall, ocean and air providers.

Tell us about your relationship with Alaska Air Cargo.
They have been a large and significant partner for us for more than 35 years. Especially in Alaska and Hawaii. They provide us air services for loose or containerized cargo.

Can you expand on what you mean by “partner?”
They offer published air services of course. But when we need additional capacity, or a specific type of product moved outside our normal lanes, Alaska will work with us to set up programs to service that need. Whether it’s retail, seafood, pharma, electronic products, etc., they step up to the plate for us.

What are examples of something outside your normal lanes?
We had a long-term, legacy hazmat customer that we needed service for. Alaska, who didn’t typically handle hazardous materials from the state of California to Alaska, worked with us to fly it on a consistent basis so we were able to maintain our contract. Another example would be a large legacy retail client that has a vey high requirement for on-time service. Alaska Air Cargo stepped up and helped us meet the requirement and to keep the client happy.

What destinations is Alaska Air Cargo working with you in?
We move a lot of freight from the lower 48 into Alaska and considerable freight within the state of Alaska. Another one of our large lanes is freight from the lower 48 to Hawaii. And of course, we move a lot of seafood from the state of Alaska to just about everywhere. We were very excited for and utilize capacity on the expansion of the Alaska network when they purchased Virgin America in 2017.

Lynden

How does Alaska Air Cargo measure up to other carriers?
We undergo a business review process with Alaska three to four times a year. They are evaluated in variety of different areas: on-time service, claims, technology, etc. Alaska consistency rates in the top echelon of the scale. And it’s a demanding scale.

How would that be expressed in qualitative terms?
They have extensive knowledge and expertise within the cargo division. They listen to their customers and make investments where required. And their board supports them so they are able to fiscally invest in the business – and it shows.

For example?
For example, last year alone they made simple changes to the Seattle cargo facility to consolidate inbound and outbound customer drop-off and pick-up points and added a resource to make sure cargo was on the plane as booked. And they innovate in technology to be very customer friendly and powerful. The new freighters are another great example of this.

What about their personnel?
Alaska has a lot of really good leaders. With a lot of knowledge and experience. They listen; it can take time but they do make every effort to meet customer requirements. That’s very different from other carriers, to be that customer-oriented. Finally, Laura, can you give three terms that best describe Alaska’s partnership with you? I’ll actually give you four. Competitive. Reliable. Responsive. And customer focused. Very, very, very customer focused.

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