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Alaska Marine Highway Port Efficiency Policy Effective June 1, 2012

(JUNEAU, Alaska) – The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) announced today that its Port Efficiency Policy will go in effect Friday, June 1, 2012.

The new policy states that an AMHS ferry will bypass a port call if there is no scheduled traffic destined into or out of that particular port. Scheduled traffic is defined as a reservation in place 24 hours in advance of the scheduled departure time from the port in question.

“We are always exploring ways for AMHS to run more efficiently,” said Michael Neussl, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Deputy Commissioner for Marine Operations. “This policy allows our ferries to conserve fuel, reduce risk from unnecessary docking procedures, and move passengers between ports in less time.”

Port calls with zero traffic are relatively uncommon throughout the Alaska ferry system. In 2011 AMHS ferries made 10 port calls where there was not any traffic on or off the ship.

The M/V Aurora recently conserved over 2,200 gallons of fuel by canceling a roundtrip sailing between Valdez and Whittier. With no traffic scheduled between ports the vessel was granted permission to stay in port. Beyond the savings in fuel the vessel’s crew was also able to perform maintenance and accomplish some mandatory U.S. Coast Guard inspections ahead of schedule.

“It is really important to show efficiencies,” said Mayor Shirley Marquardt of Unalaska and Marine Transportation Advisory Board Member. “I appreciate the manner in which the AMHS staff handled this significant change.” 

Travelers are encouraged to make reservations in advance either online at FerryAlaska.com, by calling 1-800-642-0066, or visiting ferry terminal staff throughout the system. The Juneau Call Center is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. During nonbusiness hours callers have the option of being transferred to a specific terminal or using a travel agent for assistance.

Making advance reservations is the best way to guarantee space for passengers and vehicles, and it allows the system to operate more efficiently.  


The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 254 airports, 11 ferries serving 35 communities, 5,700 miles of highway and 660 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to Get Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.

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