The Port of Skagway, Alaska is currently the number three cruise port in the State of Alaska. This ranking is by number of cruise ship passengers and Skagway is currently third behind the Alaskan ports of Juneau and Ketchikan. In 1998, Lloyd’s Cruise International magazine ranked Skagway seventeenth out of the top twenty world cruise destinations. During the 1999 summer season 521,118 cruise ship passengers arrived in Skagway.
Skagway is unique in the fact that it is one of the few ports in the state which is primarily owned and operated by a private company. That private company is the Pacific and Arctic Railway and Navigation Company dba White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. The White Pass Railroad has a 55-year lease with the City of Skagway which encompasses the majority of tideland real estate in the Skagway valley.
White Pass presently owns and operates three deepwater docks capable of handling large vessel traffic: the Railroad Dock, the Broadway Dock, and the Ore Dock. Telephone landlines and fresh water are available at each dock. The local geography of the Skagway valley prohibits normal satellite communications.
The railroad dock can accommodate two large cruise vessels and does so approximately four to five times a week during the summer season. Total berthing length at this pier is just under 2000 feet. Shore bollards at the south end of the dock allow for extra ship lines increasing capacity for longer vessels. The railroad dock has on dock rail service which greatly enhances the ease and efficiency for rail shore excursions.
The Broadway dock accommodates vessels up to 860 feet in length. This dock is centrally located within the Skagway waterfront and is ideal for passenger operations and shore excursions. Rail service to Broadway dock begins at the immediate end of the dock where passengers can easily board the train.
The Ore dock was originally designed for bulk carriers in the lead and zinc ore concentrate trade. After the decline of the mineral trade in the early 1980s the Ore dock was modified to serve as an alternate cruise ship dock. The dock was renovated and expanded to handle the new generation of large cruise ships. The Ore dock is one of the more modern berthing facilities in the State of Alaska.
The Port of Skagway has grown over the past decade into one of the premier cruise destinations in Alaska. This summer cruise season covers May through September each year. The port is ice-free year round and capable of operating as a cargo facility. The White Pass Railroad has upland staging areas and is open to the prospect of cargo vessel operations. Vessel agent and stevedoring services are available through Southeast Stevedoring Corporation located in Ketchikan, Alaska.