Alaska Marine Highway return to Prince Rupert good for Southeast

The Alaska Department of Transportation last month reinstated state ferry service to Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

The relationship between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan is an important one, as they are sister cities. The ferry route brings strong economic benefits to Prince Rupert and the communities of southern Southeast Alaska. It is the fastest way to connect southern Southeast with the road system, and therefore is helpful in shipping goods.

According to the McKinley Research Group, seafood companies rely on this port connection to ship fresh seafood. During a time when freight costs have increased substantially, it is wonderful to have this route option available again.

The Prince Rupert run is ideal for longer-term visitors to Alaska. Economic data indicates that folks who visit Alaska via the ferry system spend significantly more money in our communities than the average cruise ship passenger, bringing economic benefits to both Southeast and British Columbia. This route also helps new-to-town movers, particularly members of the U.S. Coast Guard, as they navigate transporting their belongings in and out of Southeast.

Lastly, it is our long-term residents’ vital connection to the road system. Before the pandemic, Prince Rupert saw a relatively high number of passengers via the Alaska ferries — more than 7,000 per year. We are thankful that we can travel this tried-and-true route once again.

The return to Prince Rupert is one of the first steps in ensuring that the ferry system is a major component in the transportation infrastructure needed to rebuild the economies of coastal communities. As we move forward on that journey, there is potential for future economic opportunities via this link as Prince Rupert’s port grows — one improvement would be getting more regular user-friendly scheduled stops to and from Prince Rupert.

We are very thankful to all the people working for the different government agencies who had a role to play in restoring the Ketchikan-to-Prince Rupert run. It was not a simple task, and it included some significant roadblocks and complexities. The persistence and commitment shown by the different parties involved is greatly appreciated.

Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain

Ketchikan Rep. Dan Ortiz


Reader Comments(0)