• Our beginning – The first TOTE, Inc. company was born in 1975 when Sun Shipbuilding of Philadelphia established Totem Ocean Trailer Express, a RO/RO steamship service from Seattle to Anchorage. On September 10, 1975 the S.S. Great Land made her maiden voyage from Seattle (Pier 37) to Anchorage, marking the beginning of our commitment of servicing to the people of Alaska.
The company grew quickly and the next year moved to the Port of Tacoma, Washington. By 1977 the fleet size doubled with the addition of a second RO/RO, Ponce Class steamship, the S.S. Westward Venture.
• TOTE Services was founded in Delaware as Interocean Management Corporation as the result of a merger between two established maritime companies – Cities Service Tanker Fleet and Interstate, a tug and barge firm owned by the Hooper Family.
From 1975 until 1980 Interocean Management Corporation, or IOM, operated a diverse fleet which included crewing of Totem Ocean Trailer Express’ vessels Great Land and Westward Venture in the Alaska trade, and full operation of a very large and diverse fleet of both product and crude oil tankers. These ships included three of 265,000 DWT Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) operated under US flag, and three similar sized VLCCs operated under Liberian flag with Spanish crews. IOM also operated three Liberian Liberty Class ships with Taiwan crew.
• In October 1982, Totem Ocean Trailer Express was purchased from Sun Company by the newly formed Totem Resources Corporation, now known as Saltchuk Resources, a venture of Northwest businessmen headed by then Totem Ocean Trailer Express President & CEO, Robert B. McMillen.
• IOM began managing US Maritime Administration (MARAD) vessels. The first contracts were for three SL-7s which were in Reduced Operational Status (ROS) in Philadelphia. IOM’s involvement with MARAD grew with the company overseeing the conversion and subsequent management of nine Tactical Auxiliary Crane Ships (TACS).
• Sea Star Line was born under the name of Sea-Barge. The company began its service to the people of Puerto Rico with two tug and barge sets operating from South Florida.
• IOM was sold in March of 1989 by the three owners, VADM George Steele, Bob Bassett and Bill Lockwood to Totem Resources.
• Sea Barge added two more tug and barge sets to serve Jackonsville to/from San Juan, increasing the service from Florida to a twice-weekly sailings.
• IOM became one of the principal US flag operators to assist MARAD and the U.S. government in the military sealifts associated with Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. In these operations IOM’s already active commercial fleet swelled due to the operation of 14 MARAD vessels placed under the operations control of Military Sealift Command.
• Totem Ocean Trailer Express added their third ship to the fleet, the S.S. Northern Lights. As demand for capacity grew, an unprecedented third sailing every week was added in 1994, encompassing most months of the year by 2000.
• The years 1995 to 1997 saw Totem Ocean Trailer Express embark on several new ventures, including a dedicated feeder service from Whittier to Cordova, Alaska, and the charter of the S.S. Westward Venture to the Black Sea in Russia, loaded with farm tractors and cultivators.
• Sea-Barge became Sea Star Line, LLC when it was purchased by Totem Resources and Puerto Rican investors. Sea Star launched a high-speed liner service between the United States and Puerto Rico.
• IOM entered a strategic alliance with Norwegian ship-owner Andreas Ugland, changing the company’s name to Interocean Ugland Management Corporation (Interocean).
• Sea Star Line acquired Navieras’ assets and increased sailings from three to five per week.
• Spectrum Trucking was formed as an in-house trucking resource for Sea Star Line in Jacksonville and provides 43 dedicated tractors.
• In August of that same year, Totem Ocean Trailer Express christened the first of its two vessels in the new Orca Class, the M.V. Midnight Sun. The Orca vessels were built by NASSCO and were custom designed specifically for the Alaska trade, the new ship build represented a $350 million investment in the most environmentally advanced and reliable ships in the domestic trade. Also in 2002 Totem Ocean Trailer Express began a massive restructuring and expansion of the terminal facilities at both the Port of Tacoma and the Port of Anchorage.
• TOTE Operation Enduring/Iraqi Freedom brought with it a request from the United States Military Sealift Command to charter the S.S. Northern Lights to ship Marine Corps rolling stock, assist with the return of war equipment to the United States, and carry materials for rebuilding Iraq.
• The second Orca Class vessel, the M.V. North Star, was christened in June 2003 and entered the Alaska trade late August.
• Sea Star reinvested $19.8 million to improve its vessels, facilities and equipment fleet. $5.0 million was committed to improve technologies and provide state-of-the-art e-commerce capabilities to its business partners.
• Sea Star Line introduced its third high-speed RO/CON vessel, El Faro.
• Sea Star Line launched its new Eastern Caribbean Service to the islands of Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, and Tortola.
• Spectrum Trucking became Spectrum Logistics. During the next three years the company received its brokerage authority, ocean freight forwarding license and Customs Brokerage License. Warehouse and truck terminals were opened in Eastport, Atlanta and Alta Lakes to serve the growing business.
• Sea Star Line celebrated 10 years of service.
• NAC Link’s name was changed to Alta Air Logistics.
• After a 7.0 magnitude earthquake ravaged Haiti on January 10, 2010, Interocean’s Cornhusker State was dispatched to carry much needed emergency aid to the island. The ship remained in Port-Au-Prince for 77 days, providing the only crane services available in the country.
• October 2010, Totem Ocean Trailer Express completes a $2.7 million shore power project to reduce diesel and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent during the company’s 100 ship calls each year at the Port of Tacoma. The project, completed in partnership with the EPA, equals about 1.9 tons of diesel particulates and 1,360 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
• Interocean was awarded a contract with Military Sealift Command for the continued operation of the USNS SBX-1, a vessel that the company has worked with the Boeing Corporation on a commercial basis with since 2004.
• Totem Ocean Trailer Express completes the first industrial rain gardens in the country at the TOTE Terminal in the Port of Tacoma in April 2011.
• Interocean was awarded another contract with MSC for the operation of the Offshore Petroleum Discharge vessel (OPDS) USNS Vadm K. Wheeler and the support vessel Fast Tempo and another Ship Manager contract with Department of Transportation for the continued management of the government owned RO/RO vessels Cape Horn and Cape Hudson.
• February 2012, American Shipping Group changed its name to TOTE, Inc. and introduced the TOTE Logistics, TOTE Maritime and TOTE Services brands to the market.
• Alta Transportation was formed to serve Totem Ocean Trailer Express and other third-party clients with inland transportation service in the Pacific Northwest including drayage and intermodal in and out of the Port of Tacoma.
• August 2012, Totem Ocean Trailer Express announced it would convert its two Orca class vessels to operate on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) by 2016, leading the industry toward alternative fuels.
• Alta Logistics Services, Inc. was formed in November 2012 to provide customized logistics services for large projects.
• December, 2012 TOTE, Inc. formed TOTE Shipholdings and announced a contract with General Dynamics NASSCO to build the first and largest LNG-powered container vessels in the world. The two vessels will be used in the U.S. Jones Act Puerto Rico trade. The new container ships are scheduled for delivery in 2015.
• In April and August 2015, TOTE and NASSCO launched the world’s first LNG-powered containerships. Once in service, these Marlin class vessels would be the world’s most environmentally friendly containerships.
• In December 2015, the Isla Bella, the first Marlin Class vessel entered the Puerto Rico trade. The Isla Bella, along with her sister ship, the Perla del Caribe, more than double the 53′ capacity in the trade and while significantly reducing air emissions including SOx, particulate matter and carbon dioxide.