Buenos Aires

After watching cruise calls decline at the Port of Buenos Aires, Argentina’s cruise industry has become a crucial area of development by the Ministry of Transport, backed up by a new administration that has been in office for 11 months under President Mauricio Macri.

The port is expecting just 81 ships for the 2016-2017 season.

“This is one of the lowest traffic seasons and it is the result of the lack of long term-policies and improvised actions taken by previous administrations,” said Gonzalo Mórtola, port administrator, in an exclusive interview with Cruise Industry News.

He said the port was taking a number of steps to rebuild the business, and to portray the port as stable and trustworthy for future calls.

Gonzalo Mórtola, port administrator

There are ongoing negotiations with Royal Caribbean and Costa. Mórtola also said he was planning to meet with MSC Cruises in January.

Among the changes are significant road improvements around the terminal, a new food area inside, bilingual signage, and a mobile app for passengers.

Port fees have been reduced, and will be further reduced for 2017-2018, said Mórtola. The port has also imposed a limit of 12,000 passengers per day.

“We are working regionally with Uruguay, Brazil and Chile, to incentivize low season cruise traffic. We know that many cruise lines have fleets with small ships that can adapt easily to our low season incentives,” said Mórtola.

Looking down at a double call in Buenos Aires

In addition is a new online berth reservation system, which will help allocate berth and pier space.

The goal? Double the business to 160 cruise ship calls per season.

“We believe in strategic planning and the need for long-term polices that transcend governments. That is the goal of our modernization plan,” Mórtola continued. “This is just the beginning of our new port development for the industry. In less than one year we have been able to accomplish many requests from the industry. We have a very strong commitment and will continue working together with the industry.”