Ships docked in Valparaíso

A new terminal came to life in November for the Port of Valparaíso. The $8 million facility can handle up to 6,000 passengers per day, according to Carlos Vera, logistics manager.

Vera said that traffic is steady, with around 95,000 passengers and 40 calls per season. It peaked in 2009, at the height of the South America market growth phase, with 136,000 passengers.

Most of the cruise visits happen during the season, from October to March, although the Sea Princess was a highlight with an August call last year on its world cruise.

The port currently has two berths, which also serve cargo vessels.

“As part of our development initiatives we are running a feasibility study on a dedicated berth for passenger cruise ships,” Vera said. “During 2017 we will expand this study to include cost and demand evaluations to understand the impact of a project of such magnitude.”

The Chilean government has taken a number of steps to attract more ships, according to Vera, starting with the reduction of fees and the ability to keep casinos open while in Chilean waters.

“Congress is currently studying a bill to allow passenger cabotage for foreign flag ships,” Vera added.