(JUNEAU, Alaska)—The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) winter operating plan for October 2022 through April 2023 is available for public review. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) plans to release a summer 2023 schedule for public comment after the winter schedule is finalized.
The operating plan includes running the M/V Columbia for the first time in three years. This will provide more operating weeks and eliminate the gap in mainline service experienced in 2021/2022. The cross-gulf service gap will increase from three to five months due to the extent of overhaul work needed on the M/V Kennicott. The Columbia will be ready to sail this fall after final steel repairs, a shaft and propeller reinstallation, and required safety inspections.
DOT&PF developed the winter schedule with as much flexibility as possible to prioritize service for communities. For example, while the M/V LeConte is in overhaul, the M/V Tazlina will provide service from early January through the end of February. AMHS will also utilize contract service as needed to provide passenger service for northern panhandle communities.
As with other ferry systems nationwide, the tight labor market continues to be a challenge for AMHS. The department is continuing an aggressive recruitment effort and working to keep the fleet in top operating condition through our annual shipyard overhaul schedule.
AMHS would like to hear about any need for special event scheduling; Organizers and communities should provide event names, dates, and locations, plus arrival/departure times needed for each special event.
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