Skagway to issue RFP for port development

A Disney cruise ship tied up at Skagway’s ore dock. (Photo by Emily Files/KHNS)

The Municipality of Skagway is examining its options for managing the port after White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad’s lease of the city’s tidelands ends in 2023. The Skagway Borough Assembly passed a resolution last week expressing its intent to submit a request for proposals (RFP) for the development, use, and preservation of the Port of Skagway. 

In 1968 White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad leased the Broadway Dock, Ore Dock and Railroad Dock from the Municipality of Skagway. That lease ends in 2023. A few years ago Skagway residents voted against renewing the lease with White Pass. Since then, the municipality has been trying to figure out what management of the port will look like in the future. 

At a meeting last month, Assemblyman Dave Brena suggested that the municipality submit an RFP for port development and transitioning out of the current lease. 

“I think it’s necessary that we strongly consider our options for terminating the lease early. If we don’t do that, the timeframe for developing the waterfront gets extended out till about 2026 and that’s going to be very painful for all parties,” Brena said.

Mayor Andrew Cremata agreed with Brena, saying that it is time for the assembly to make some tough decisions about the future of the port. 

“If we don’t do it now, we’re just kicking it down the road and we’re gonna have ample opportunity in the coming months when the season’s over to address this as a body,” Cremata wrote.

In a report to the assembly last week, Cremata wrote that a consortium known as Holistica has expressed interest in partnering with Skagway on its port. The consortium includes cruise lines such as Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Disney. 

In March, Charlie Ball, Vice President of Land Operations with Holland America also made a pitch to the borough assembly for a future partnership in operating and maintaining the port. 

Consulting firm Bermello and Ajamil will assist the municipality in defining the scope of the RFP. It’s unclear when the municipality will issue the RFP.