Saturday, April 4, 2015
The Port of Skagway, Alaska. A Skagway song.
A sea port with great unrealized potential. Once the gateway to the Klondike gold rush of 1898, Skagway got electricity before Manhattan. It should have been a jewel in the economic crown of the USA, but now the place is almost totally tourist-dependent.
Largest fjord in North America, the "Lynn Canal", deep enough for largest shipping, was supposed to have destined Skagway, once a city of forty thousand, instead of it's current (2008) population of about 500, to have become a sprawling metropolis. Now, instead of millions of people, due to the Canadian calculated reticence for any "undue" progress, the town has a few hundred.
The port made a brief comeback last year when the price of copper was high and it was being exported from Canada to China through Skagway. But now the port is a tourist attraction, and has become the 11th most popular of the tourist destinations in the world,rivaling Athens and Rio, etc.
During it's previous commercial heyday back in the eighties, due the export of asbestos, lead and zinc, Skagway had the highest rate of birth defects in the entire United States.
Make no mistake. There are key places on the face of the Earth and this is one of them. Commercially, it could link Asia with the now melted Northwest Passage, bypassing the ship-sinking Bering Straight.
Check out the economics section in my website: (www.paulhallart.com).