The First Commercial Dry Cargo Vessel Built in the United States in Over a Decade Embarks on Her Working Maiden Voyage From the Port of Tacoma April 23


TACOMA, WASHINGTON - Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc. (TOTE), introduced the first of two new vessels, the M. V. Midnight Sun, into the Port of Tacoma, Washington to Port of Anchorage, Alaska trade route, departing Tacoma, Washington at 3:00 A. M. on Wednesday, April 23. Midnight Sun is scheduled to arrive at the Port of Anchorage at approximately 2:00 A. M. on Saturday, April 26. It is the first Orca Class roll-on/roll-off trailer ship TOTE has commissioned for service from Tacoma, Washington to Anchorage, Alaska.


The M. V. Midnight Sun and her sister ship, M. V. North Star, are 840 feet long and118 feet wide. Their width adds increased maneuverability on the ship, allowing trailers as large as 53 feet long, a choice TOTE wanted to offer its customer base shipping cargo to the Alaska marketplace. Despite their 50-foot increase in length and 13-foot increase in width over TOTE's existing steamship fleet, most cargo will be loaded and discharged in 9 hours; the speed and efficiency of this process is an important market niche for TOTE. The Company's terminal facilities in the Ports of Tacoma and Anchorage have also been restructured and expanded to help facilitate continued efficiency.


"M. V. Midnight Sun reflects our ongoing commitment to the vitality of the Alaska and Puget Sound economies," said Bob Magee, President & CEO of TOTE. "Our multi-million dollar investment in both ships speaks loudly to TOTE's belief in the future growth of these economies." M. V. Midnight Sun and M. V. North Star have already received several prestigious environmental awards. These include: The States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force Legacy Award 2000, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner's 2000 Pollution Prevention Award, and the United States Coast Guard's William M. Benkert 2002 Environmental Excellence Bronze Award. Midnight Sun "M. V. Midnight Sun is the culmination of years of planning and design," said Magee. He continued, "The efficiencies of the Midnight Sun and North Star will cover the long-term capital costs. It is our wish to provide our customers the safest, most reliable, fastest service to Alaska. The Orcas are designed to do just that."


The North Star will be christened June 14, 2003 in San Diego, and will enter Alaska service August 2003. Says Magee, "TOTE owes much of is success to its loyal customers and the hard work of its employees, seafarers, merchant officers, and members of organized labor who support the ships shoreside. It is through their dedication and perseverance that TOTE is able to maintain its commitment to the future of Alaska and the Puget Sound region."


Founded in 1975, TOTE is a privately owned Alaska corporation operating a fleet of roll-on/roll-off cargo trailer ships in the Alaska trade. In addition to terminals in Tacoma, Washington and Anchorage, Alaska, TOTE has sales offices in Chicago, Illinois; Long Beach, California; Houston, Texas; Portland, Oregon; and Vancouver, British Columbia; and provides service between the Ports of Tacoma and Anchorage with highway and rail connections throughout greater Alaska, the Lower 48, and Canada.