Ports bill paves way for deep-water Alaska port

Thanks to an easy-to-miss clause in the most recent US water infrastructure bill, shippers hoping to tap the small but growing Alaska market may eventually gain new access via an Arctic deep-draft port. Alaska’s Port of Nome, the most northern port in the state and the most likely candidate for the site, has pushed for the legislation, arguing that accommodations for larger vessels will not only cut operating costs for the maritime industry in the Arctic but also translate into lower transportation costs. The US Army Corps of Engineers, however, stalled progress on the port project last year, citing the need for further potential economic benefits. Now, language in the recent Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation, or WIIN, Act extends justification for a feasibility study of the project, which means the project may not be dead in the water after all.