Monday, September 21, 2015

Prince Rupert's West Coast Launch considering Ketchikan service next summer

If it proves feasible, the Inside Passage
may be providing passenger service
to Ketchikan Alaska next summer
Prince Rupert's famed Big Yellow Catamaran may be charting a course for Ketchikan, Alaska in the summer of 2016.

Discussions that look place at last week's Southeast Conference in Prince Rupert may soon lead to a new transportation option between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan, with West Coast Launch looking to provide for the new marine link between the communities.

The Ketchikan Daily News has reported that the owners of the Prince Rupert based service are interested in making trips between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan, with the operators  of West Coast Launch looking to fill in the demand for service that could develop with the reduced schedule that has been announced for the Alaska Marine Highway System.

Concerns related to the recently announced cutbacks and other issues related to the Alaska Marine Highway (see here) provided for an interested audience for the unique proposal to link the two communities.

During last weeks conference, Debbie Davis from West Coast Launch outlined the kind of transportation system that could be put in place making use of the 100 passenger catamaran the Inside Passage. 

They Prince Rupert operators are reviewing the logistics of such a service and the customs
requirements that would come with the start of the potential service. 

The service would of course not be the same as that of the Alaska Marine Highway service, with the proposed service using the Inside Passage a vehicle free option.

Whether there is a demand for a non vehicle approach to the transportation system is one of the key aspects of the plan that West Coast Launch will be reviewing through the fall and winter.

The Southeast Conference meetings
in Prince Rupert wrapped up
on Thursday last week
At the moment, the proposed journey between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan would be limited to a summer season operation only.

The Southeast Conference wrapped up on Thursday, with delegates discussing a number of topics of interest to communities up and down the Alaska panhandle.  

And while a lot of the focus involved concerns related to those announced cutbacks with the Alaska Marine Highway system, delegates also discussed economic development among member communities. 

They also had opportunity to explore some of Prince Rupert's economic development with a fair bit of attention given to the work of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, as well delegates noted that they were watching with interest the progress for proposed LNG development projects on the North Coast.

Prince Rupert played host to the annual conference last week with three days of sessions from September 15 to 17, the majority of the events took place at the city's North Coast Convention Centre.

Ketchikan's Public radio station KRBD provided some background on the Alaskans visit to Prince Rupert, their reports and some other notes on the conference can be found below:

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