Passengers disembark from a White Pass & Yukon Route train in downtown Skagway, AK, May 10, 2017. (Chris Windeyer/Yukon News)

White Pass and Yukon Route set to sell for $290 million

Cruise company Carnaval’s deal includes ports, railroad and retail operations

Cruise giant Carnival is preparing to buy the White Pass and Yukon Route railway for US$290 million.

In an announcement June 6, Carnival said it made the deal, which includes White Pass’s ports, railroad and retail operations in Skagway, Alaska, through its subsidiary Holland America Princess Alaska Tours.

The transaction is scheduled to close at the end of July.

According to a press release, Holland America is working on a memorandum of understanding with Survey Point Holdings, Inc., an Alaskan company based in Ketchikan, to become a managing partner in the port, White Pass Scenic Railway and the associated retail operations.

Under the agreement, Survey Point will continue managing the railway’s day-to-day terminal operations and customer relations.

The company is promising to make new investments in the business.

“These investments will include support for expansion of docking facilities to accommodate the newest generation of cruise ships, a key to the port’s long-term success,” the press release says.

Officials with Carnival refused an interview request. In a statement to the News, the company said it will maintain business as usual. “We look forward to working with the White Pass year-round and summer season employees.”

The White Pass and Yukon route runs approximately 110 km from Skagway to Carcross, Yukon. In addition, White Pass operates three docks, primarily for cruise ships.

Carnival’s cruise line operates 103 ships. It calls Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, “the leading tour company” in Alaska and the Yukon.

The railway’s current owner, TWC Enterprises, could not be reached for comment.

As part of the proposed deal TWC has the option of taking up to $84 million US of the proceeds in Carnival shares.

TWC bills itself as Canada’s largest owner and operator of golf clubs with 41 locations in Ontario, Quebec and Florida.

Talk of the company selling off its railway began last year. At the time TWC said it was doing “a strategic review of its investment in White Pass and Yukon Route” which could include the sale of all or a portion of the business, though it provided no details as to why a sale was being considered.

Earlier this year the Town of Skagway suspended lease negotiations with White Pass. The leases for two of the railway’s docks are set to expire in 2023, according to Alaska media. The talks were suspended after the Holland America Group sent Skagway a letter proposing an economic partnership.

Holland America suggested forming a joint venture with the city to lease and manage two of the municipality’s docks and their tidelands, according to Alaska radio station KHNS.

In its statement to the News, Carnival officials said it was too early to comment on the lease negotiations “but we hope to have additional information after the official closing of the deal.”

In an email, Blake Rogers, executive director of Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon, called the deal a “good sign of the company’s long term commitment to our region, and is welcome news to the Yukon’s tourism industry.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

CarcrossrailwaySkagwayTourismWhite Pass & Yukon Route

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

Most of Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 graduates. The former students were welcomed back and honoured by staff at the school on Oct. 14 with a personalized grad ceremony for each graduate. (Submitted)
Individual Learning Centre grads honoured

Members of the Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 were welcomed… Continue reading

Asad Chishti, organizer of the rally to support the conservation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, leads marchers through chants with a megaphone outside the Bank of Montreal in Whitehorse on Aug. 28. The BMO is the second Candian bank to announce it will not directly fund oil and gas projects in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Bank of Montreal second Canadian bank to join ANWR boycott

BMO joins RBC, the first to commit to the boycott

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brendan Hanley speak during a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on July 29. Silver urged “kindness and patience” during the weekly COVID-19 update on Oct. 21, after RCMP said they are investigating an act of vandalism against American travellers in Haines Junction.
(Alistair Maitland Photography file)
COVID-19 update urges “kindness and patience” for travellers transiting through the territory

“We need to support each other through these challenging times”

Whitehorse Correctional Centre officials have replied to a petition by inmate Charabelle Silverfox, who alleges she’s being kept in conditions mirroring separate confinement, arguing that her placement isn’t nearly as restrictive as claimed. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Inmate not being kept in restrictive confinement, WCC argues in response to petition

Whitehorse Correctional Centre (WCC) officials have replied to a petition by an… Continue reading

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Evan Lafreniere races downhill during the U Kon Echelon Halloweeny Cross-Country Race on Oct. 16. (Inara Barker/Submitted)
Costumed bike race marks end of season

The U Kon Echelon Bike Club hosted its final race of the… Continue reading

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, right, before question period at the Yukon legislative assembly in Whitehorse on March 7, 2019. The Yukon government announced Oct. 19 it has increased the honoraria rates for school council members. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Honoraria increased for school council members

Members of school councils throughout the territory could soon receive an increased… Continue reading

Triple J’s Canna Space in Whitehorse on April 17, 2019, opens their first container of product. Two years after Canada legalized the sale of cannabis, Yukon leads the country in per capita legal sales. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon leads Canadian cannabis sales two years after legalization

Private retailers still asking for changes that would allow online sales

A sign greets guests near the entrance of the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse on June 11. The city announced Oct. 16 it was moving into the next part of its phased reopening plan with spectator seating areas open at a reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
CGC reopening continues

Limited spectator seating now available

Most Read