Carlile expands operations

Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2005

After 25 years of providing shipping service between Alaska and Washington, Carlile Transportation Systems, which has a terminal on Bridge Access Road in Kenai, is building a new 65,000-square-foot terminal at the Port of Tacoma in Washington.

"It's going to make it more efficient for the trailer loads that I receive out of Seattle," said Jim Lackey, terminal manager for Carlile's Kenai Peninsula operations.

He said the improved efficiency will give customer's freight less handling, which reduces the chances of damage.

"It allows us to grow with (Alaska) as it becomes more busy," said Sean Donovan, executive administrative analyst for Carlile, an Anchorage-based company. "I think the Alaskan economy is just booming."

For example, Home Depot, one of Carlile's customers, plans to open new stores in Alaska, which will increase the shipping company's business by almost 30 percent, Donovan said.

Carlile is an asset-based motor carrier which transports commercial cargo by truck, barge, rail and steamship between certain ports and highways.

They have five terminals in Alaska. In addition to Washington and Alaska, they have terminals in Alberta, Canada and Texas.

Carlile employs almost 550 people — 380 are Alaskans. Thirty-three people work in Kenai and four in Seward.

"We're a significant employer for the state of Alaska," said Linda Leary, vice president for sales and marketing and one of the owners of Carlile.

Construction was started in May and is expected to be completed in about six months, she said.

They will move out of their current location in Federal Way, Wash., which Donovan said they have outgrown.

The new terminal is being built from the ground up and will have 80 docks, a 14,000-square-foot office building, storage facilities, a rail spur so they can load and offload rail cars and a truck scale that is open to the public.

There will be a container freight station that will allow the company to process foreign cargo.

"It's just going to be way bigger than the one we have now," Leary said.

The current facility has 20 docks.

She said this will allow customers to store their cargo at the terminal making shipping more efficient.

Leary estimated that the company provides five to 10 percent of all the shipping business to Alaska.

She said the new facility will help them better serve Alaska customers.

"We'll be able to get freight to the dock more quickly," she said.

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