JUNEAU -

The Alaska Marine Highway System is starting to phase out gift shops on its ferries.

State transportation department spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says by the end of this year or early next, the gift shops, which are only on the five mainliner vessels, are expected to be gone.

Woodrow says the gift shops don't make money and cost about $1 million a year to operate. He said it's a good time to begin the phase-out now, because the ferry system traditionally orders store items in bulk, and the warehouse in which items are kept is starting to thin out. Rather than restock, the plan is to move ahead with the phase-out.

Woodrow says a determination has not yet been made on how the gift-shop space will be reused.