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Valdez is a city in Valdez-Cordova Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 4,020. The city is one of the most important ports in Alaska. The port of Valdez was named in 1790 after the Spanish naval officer Antonio Valdés y Fernández Bazán.
Valdez is a fishing port, used both for commercial and sport fishing. Freight moves through Valdez bound for the interior regions of Alaska. Tourism also occurs here, comprising sightseeing of the marine life and glaciers, together with both deep-sea fishing, and heli skiing. The oil from the Trans-Alaska pipeline is loaded onto ships at the Valdez oil terminal. It is sometimes called the Switzerland of Alaska.
Alyeska Pipeline Service Company is one of the biggest employers in town but it started to move the work to Anchorage since the town council passed a resolution charging a tax to all the tankers coming into the port to be loaded with oil. This has had a detrimental impact in the population size and the economy.Valdez is connected to the interior of Alaska by the Richardson Highway, and is a port of call in the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system.
The Valdez Marine Terminal is an oil port in Valdez, at the southern end of the Alaska Pipeline. There are 18 holding tanks at the terminal, and an average of three to five oil tankers depart from the terminal each week.