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13 February, 2002


Carmen Lemon is the logistics support assistant for Palmer Station. There are two main parts to her job. The first is cargo: she makes sure that we get the food and equipment we need to do our jobs. She also makes sure that the waste material we don't need is sent off the station. Rick Lichtenhan is the cargoperson who works with Carmen on these tasks. The second part of her job is inventory: she manages the cargo while it is here. She has to find a place for everything.

Carmen says that her job is like solving a puzzle. Sometimes she has to move things to different places in order to make room for something new. She wants to move things as few times as possible, so she needs to plan carefully.

Our cargo is shipped to us on the LM Gould. This ship comes to Palmer Station every four to six weeks. It comes from Punta Arenas, Chile. Our cargo has either been flown to Punta Arenas or it has come by ship from Port Huenueme, California. The ship carries the scientists and other workers who need to be at Palmer Station. It brings fresh fruit and vegetables ("freshies"). It brings materials for construction and for science.

The cargo is usually packed in milvans. (A few of the people may sleep in a special milvan if the ship is really crowded. The milvan has bunk beds in it. It is down in the hold of the ship, so it is a great place to sleep when the seas are rough!)

These heavy metal milvans are approximately 8 feet by 8 feet by 20 feet. Their actual volume for storage is 1170 cubic feet. When the LM Gould comes to the dock, Carmen has to be ready. She needs to have a plan, because there will be milvans of cargo coming off the ship, and milvans of waste material going on the ship.

There is room for four milvans on the pier. Right now there are 2 milvans sitting there. One is plugged in to electricity and doesn't move. The other one can be moved. When the LM Gould comes in later this week, there will be 4 full milvans that will need to be unloaded from the ship. You see the puzzle?

Carmen uses math in her job all the time. Here is a complicated problem. There isn't just one right answer.

Carmen has ordered 44,000 pounds of concrete for Palmer Station. This will be used in the remodeling project that is scheduled for the winter (April-September). The concrete is needed here in March. It will be used as the foundation for the remodeling. Carmen has to plan a way to ship the concrete here from Punta Arenas. Because concrete is heavy for its volume, Carmen plans by the weight of the concrete.

Each empty milvan weighs 5000 pounds (its TARE weight). The LMGould has a crane that can lift 26,000 pounds. The LM Gould can carry 5 milvans on deck and 4 milvans in the hold. However, 2 of the milvans in the hold are used as sleeping quarters for passengers, so there are really 2 milvans in the hold for cargo.

If a milvan is put in the hold of the LM Gould, its loaded weight cannot be more than 20,000 pounds. If the milvan is on the deck, it can have a loaded weight of 25,000-26,000 pounds. The Skytrack here at Palmer can move 6,000 pounds, which is just a little more than an empty milvan.

To make matters more complicated, Carmen has other cargo waiting to come to Palmer Station. She has 27,738 pounds of materials that are at the top of the priority list for transfer here. In addition, other construction material must come also. So, how should Carmen plan to send this cargo? How much concrete can she bring in the next visits of the LMGould? The ship will make two trips with cargo in March.

1. Carmen Lemon is doing inventory before the ship arrives.

2. Every item in the warehouse has an inventory number.

3. The Garage-Warehouse-Recreation (GWR) building has a large space for the supplies and materials we need.

4. Rick Lichtenhan is the Palmer Station cargoperson.

5. Carmen Lemon has blocks to represent the milvans she must move.

6. The blocks represent the refrigerator van, the trash van, and the incoming cargo vans.

7. Carmen moves the blocks to represent the moves the vans might make on the dock.

8. The blocks are much easier to rearrange than vans weighing 20,000 pounds!

9. The pier is ready for the LM Gould's arrival! The only van now on the pier is the refrigerator van. It is always there.

10. On the day the Gould was here, it was hard to complete the unloading of cargo. The winds were high and it was raining or snowing most of the day. It was hard to recognize Carmen and Rick when they were outside in all their foul weather gear. Rick Lichtenhan came inside for a few minutes. Here he is in the dining room.

11. This photo shows the way in which a milvan is unloaded from the Gould. This photo was taken by Carmen Lemon in November, 2001.

12. The crane unloads big boxes as well as the milvans.

13. Rick drives the Skytrak to the warehouse with a load of cargo.

14. Four milvans are on the pier, along with other cargo.

16. Carmen Lemon and Rick Lichtenhan are out there as the last milvan is placed on the pier.

15. The last milvan is being placed onto the pier

18. The LM Gould departed two days ago, and Rick is still unloading cargo from the milvans!

17. The LM Gould is ready to depart. All the cargo has been off-loaded.

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