While international trade through the Port of Tacoma continues to grow by leaps and bounds, the Port’s domestic trade with Alaska, accounting for 30% of the Port’s total trade volume, is strengthening.

Carlile Transportation Systems, one of Alaska’s largest trucking companies, recently opened a state-of-the-art facility with 50,000 square feet of cross-dock space and 14,000 square feet of office space on a 16-acre tract of land near Port terminals. The new facility employs 110 people.

‘I can’t emphasize enough how important Alaska is to Tacoma and the entire Puget Sound region,’ said Port of Tacoma Commissioner Dick Marzano. ‘Each year, more than $3.5 billion in trade moves over Port of Tacoma docks to and from Alaska on TOTE (Totem Ocean Trailer Express) and Horizon Lines ships.

‘In fact,’ Marzano added, ‘More than 70% of all waterborne commerce from the Lower 48 states to Alaska is shipped through the Port of Tacoma.’

As an active participant in this vital trade, the company’s move from Federal Way, Washington to the Port area enables Carlile to better serve its Alaska client base and expand into the busy Pacific Northwest market, says Linda Leary, Carlile’s Vice President of Sales.

Carlile’s Alaska truck fleet hauls everything from construction equipment to frozen food. Its logistics department also manages and tracks multi-modal transports that could include trucks, trains, air cargo barges and ships for the company’s customers.

‘Moving the terminal to the Port made sense because so much of our business from the Pacific Northwest destined for Alaska funnels through Tacoma, and the new location gives us rail, ship and truck access from one location,’ said Leary. ‘We also have the option to expand internationally from the Port of Tacoma.’

The new facility features a secured warehouse and cross-dock facility with some of the latest technological advances in security. A digital security network of 80 cameras boasts more than two terabytes of storage. Physical access to the terminal is limited by computer-controlled doors and gates fitted with proximity card sensors.

According to Leary, communications is an integral part of logistics, and the terminal was therefore designed with the most extensive network in Carlile’s system. Thirty-two miles of Ethernet and fiber optic cable in the office, warehouse, and yard connects more than fifty workstations and servers to the corporate network which spans Western North America, from Houston to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.

Wireless networking throughout the terminal, combined with wireless handheld computers and printers, enables a new generation of logistics applications. Leary says the new terminal allows Carlile to offer niche services to its growing customer base, including:

  • Rail load/off-load
  • 75 foot public scale
  • Covered flatbed loading area
  • Container freight station (US customs bonded facility)
  • Heavy haul/lowboy services
  • Bulk commodities
  • Third-party logistics
  • Project lay-down
  • Industrial shrink-wrap